Let’s get this right out front. The first “Taken” was an awesome tough guy movie. It even made the cover of the first Tough Guy Wisdom book. The second was a decent follow up that was still enjoyable. The third is my least favorite of the three. I suspect it will get the worst reviews and make the least amount of money of the three as well. With that said, I still enjoy Liam Neeson kicking ass.
Unfortunately, Liam Neeson as Bryon Mills (along with Forrest Whitaker, who is a great actor, playing the lead investigator) is the only real good thing here. The movie just doesn’t stack up with the first installments of this franchise.
The good thing about the movie is they attempted to veer away from the original plots of someone Mills cares about getting taken. The bad thing is the movie veered away from the original premise of someone Mills cares about getting taken. This was more of a “Fugitive” plot, but not done nearly as well. Mills is set up as the murderer of his former wife. So not only does he have to run from the law, he has to try and figure out who killed his wife and protect his daughter from the same.
The first movie worked, and is my favorite, because I could related to a father, with a specific set of skills, going after those who took his daughter to sell as a sex slave in order to get her back. This movie didn’t have that. Many that got in the way and turned into collateral damage were innocents in this car crash laden and police/security guard getting beat up film.
The fight scenes weren’t as good as the first movie either, but again, any time you can see Liam Neeson taking out bad guys it’s fun. He is just cool doing it, and seeing the older tough guy in action is fun. I felt Whitaker was underutilized, but when he is on screen, he’s always good to watch. I wish there would have been more interaction between him and Neeson. These two could do so much more together. They both really are great. This just wasn’t a great vehicle for them.
I still had fun watching this, and there were a few lines that will make future Tough Guy Wisdom volumes, but it just didn’t have what the first did. If it weren’t for the first couple of movies, this film would not stand on it’s own very well. It would be called a cheap copy of the “Fugitive” and might have gone straight to DVD. (I still watch and enjoy a lot of the straight to DVD tough guy movies.)
Bottom Line: If you are a “Taken” fan, you’ll have to see the third and final installment of this tough guy franchise, but you’ll probably want to wait to do so when it comes out on DVD. I really like the character, but I wish he could have gone out with the same bang that we had with the first film.