'Taken 3': What the Critics Are Saying
Liam Neeson reprises his role as ex-government operative Bryan Mills in the last installment of trilogy, directed by Olivier Megaton
Taken 3, the third and final film in the Taken trilogy, stars Liam Neeson as a former government operative who is framed for the murder of his ex-wife. Neeson's role as Bryan Mills again sees the actor use his "particular set of skills" to dodge the CIA and FBI and track down the real killer in the action thriller.
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Directed by Olivier Megaton and written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the film also features Forest Whitaker, Dougray Scott and original franchise stars Maggie Grace and Famke Janssem (who reprise their roles from 2008's Taken and the 2012 sequel Taken 2).
Read what top critics are saying about Taken 3:
The Hollywood Reporter's Clarence Tsui writes, "Replacing the first two films' simplistic, man-on-the-run premise with a stuttering plot comparatively light on action and stuffed with red herrings and inconsequential characters, Besson's team has signed off the trilogy with a whimper rather than the kind of unfettered bang delivered by the first two films. ...Those expecting Mills to tear around town like he did in Paris and Istanbul in the first two films will be disappointed — apart from minor pyrotechnics in some buildings and a pile-up on the 710, Los Angeles is spared excessive mayhem. That's because the flow of the action is repeatedly interrupted by Mills' needless clandestine meet-ups with Kim and by sequences of Detective Franck Dotzler (Whitaker) either pondering the alleged murder while eating bagels or ordering around his underlings. These digressions deflate the tension that kept the first two Taken installments afloat as pieces of relentless high-octane spectacle; with Mills no longer dashing around as much, the viewer has more time to be bothered by the implausibility and illogic of the narrative."
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Los Angeles Times' Betsey Sharkey says, "Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, writers with a decent idea when they started with Taken in 2008 — kidnapped kid, black-ops dad to the rescue — return without much new to offer. Everything you see and hear on screen, from the smallest bit to the biggest boom, gets explained repeatedly. I exaggerate only slightly; it's like an entire movie made for a remedial audience." Dialogue between characters "merely states the obvious and restates what has already been said, often using exactly the same words. Drop the excess and the script would shrink by half, and so perhaps would the movie's nearly two-hour running time."
USA Today's Claudia Puig explains, "While this third installment offers a jot more humor (mostly unintentional), the action scenes are disjointed, badly staged and mind-numbing. Lots of chases happen, but none are exciting. The preposterous plot doesn't even hinge on kidnapping, as it did in the first two films, so this outing hardly deserves its title. ... Liam Neeson's CIA operative character brings nothing new to the predictable franchise. If you've seen Taken or Taken 2, you've already been taken, and there's not much different here."
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Time Out London's Tom Huddleston notes that "Taken 3 scores over its predecessor on almost every level: the stakes are higher, the LA locations are nicely photographed and, best of all, there’s an actual plot, with twists and everything. The characters feel more rounded too. Neeson is still going through the motions, but he’s backed up by a solid crew of returning regulars and newcomers including Forest Whitaker as a likeably crumpled cop. ... Megaton‘s epileptic, herky-jerky action sequences are still frustratingly hard to follow, and there’s never a pretence that this is anything more than easy product for an undemanding audience. But in this series, average is an improvement."
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gives it one out of five stars. "It’s difficult to know what subtitle to give this. Taken 3: Not Again, or Taken 3: Seriously? or Taken 3: This Is Getting a Bit Much Frankly. It is another episode in the eventful life of former special forces hombre Bryan Mills: the role which made a bankable action star of Liam Neeson, famously leaving his daughter’s kidnappers the most defiantly butch answering-machine message in film history. Now his daughter is in jeopardy yet again. Lordy! We needed Maggie Smith to come on as Lady Bracknell, jab her parasol into Liam’s chest and announce: 'To allow your nearest and dearest to get into mortal danger twice is all very well, Mr Neeson, but thrice looks like carelessness!'"