Taken 3 (SPOILERS… I suppose)
Cert: 12A / 109 mins / Dir. Olivier Megaton / Trailer
As an action film featuring a former Star Wars actor, playing a character framed for the murder of his wife, escaping from the pursuing authorities by running through a sewer network, Tak3n owes so much to The Fugitive that it's had to get a loan from Mission Impossible just to keep up the repayments...
Liam Neeson's Bryan Mills returns as the trouble-magnet ex-CIA agent, but this time the action stays on US soil and centers around an insurance claim (no, I'm not making that up), and the only Nasty Bad Foreigners™ to be ruthlessly dispatched by our hero come in the form of reassuringly stereotypical Russian gangsters (whose wardrobe appears to be sponsored by Joe Brown's, oddly).
On the plus side, the rampant xenophobia and casual misogyny of the first two films is actually dialled down dramatically for this trilogy-closer*1, but the result is an almost offensively bland film in which ideas and set-pieces from a host of other films are borrowed and reassembled by the Besson/Kamen writing team. Director Olivier Megaton seems to have attained a 12A certificate by ensuring the violent scenes are so shaky and choppily-edited, that no-one in the audience has any idea what's actually going on. Although to be fair, this is the most bloodless murder-thriller you're likely to see, and no-one actually dies until Those Pesky Ruskies™ re-appear for the final act (at which point They All Die. Funny that).
The film's plot is explained at regular intervals by Neeson, with assistance from Maggie Grace, Forest Whitaker and Dougray Scott, and in case you missed any of it what with all the exploding cars going on, Neeson and Whitaker actually have a quiet reprise scene at the end to explain it again. No, I'm not making that up either.
Taken 3 might not be as willfully provocative as its forebears, but it's no better a film for it, sadly. By the time our heroes enjoy a slow-pan-out sunset on the pier, even Neeson looks like he's had enough.
Oh, and when Neeson's got Sam Spruell pinned against the stairs in his pants with a gun in his face (still not making that up), you can see the tattoo-makeup on his chest smudging. The skills aren't very particular, this time around.
It's not, in all honesty.
This is a £3 DVD when you're in Asda buying a curry and a few beers for a Saturday night in. If you're not fussy.
In no way, shape or form.
I actually don't think it does, and you can believe that it's not trying to achieve a lot.
Not that I heard, no.
Stars Qui-Gon Jinn himself, Liam Neeson, of course.
*1 Please let this be a trilogy-closer rather than a quadrilogy-penultimator. Please let the poster tagline of "it ends here" be the one sincere thing about the entire debacle...
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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