Bryan Mills is at it again in this last installment of the Taken series. Taken 3 is a thrilling roller coaster of a movie that will have you on the edge of your seats from beginning until the end. This time, the assault on Mills’ family is not in Europe, but in his own backyard. Liam Neeson is truly the reason to see these films, and this last one is of no exception. The best part about this installment and all the Taken movies is that they are action/thriller movies with a family side. It is probably one of the only action movies that you can sit down and enjoy with the whole family. Like last years’s 3 Days to Kill, Taken 3 adds a positive family elements that makes the audience root for our hero. It hits all the marks– for a cliche action movie that is–for a successful action-packed narrative that has characters you love and villains you love to hate. In addition to the car chase and fight scenes that are the hallmark of the Taken series, Taken 3 adds the element of mystery to this glorified “who-done-it.”
“Ex-covert operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), are enjoying a reconciliation when Lenore is brutally murdered. Bryan is framed for the crime and flees, with the CIA, FBI and police all in hot pursuit. For the last time, he channels his rage and particular set of skills into hunting down Lenore’s real killers, taking his revenge and protecting the one important thing left in his life: his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace)” (IMDb). Only this time, he is not alone. The mysterious murder of Lenore sparks an investigation that will include Mills’ ex-covert circle of friends as well, in a spine-tingling action-packed adventure where answers to questions only spawn more questions in this labyrinth of deceit. Only Mills is not the only one trying to solve this mystery, the LA Chief Inspector (Forest Whitaker) is also working to piece together the answer as his men seek to bring Mills in for questioning.
Like the previous two movies, this one is full of action from start to finish, and includes the quirky comedy that comes along with these films. It’s just enough to cleanse the pallet for more action and covert operations. Not a movie that is intended to cause you to ponder life issues, not self-reflexive, nor is it designed to prompt you to question this, that, or the other, it is a movie that is produced for pure entertainment value. And, you know what? That’s perfectly fine! I have never thought of Liam Neeson as an amazing actor; however, he plays the role of Bryan Mills so incredibly well that he holds the movie together and sparks enjoyment in the audience. Although he gets type-casted in similar roles (i.e. last year’s Non Stop and A Walk Amongst the Tombstones), he never fails to deliver his character with excellence.
From a technical perspective, the movie pulls out all the stops and action-movie tropes for a multi-sensory experience. You get it all: elaborate and unrealistic car chases, thousands of bullets flying all over the place that never graze Mills, explosions, and countless brawls with police and assassins. You even get a subplot involving Kim that is introduced near the beginning of the movie. Narrative-wise, there are definitely elements that don’t quite make sense logically, the pace slows a bit too much sometimes, and there are holes here and there, but the moderate amount of exposition helps to fill in the gaps. Audiences don’t watch action movies because they are incredible artistic masterpieces, they watch them for the utter enjoyment of a very visually driven story. So, that is why I feel this movie does what it is designed to do, and does it well.