Wednesday, January 28, 2015

'Taken 3' review

I love Liam Neeson. He's a great actor and he's done some great films in the past. Schindler's List is exceptional work, and I've even liked some of the stuff that he's done in the post-Taken era (Non-Stop, A Million Ways to Die in the West). Not to mention that he will soon be appearing in Martin Scorsese's Silence, which should definitely be a career rebound. He'll need it after Taken 3, one of the worst studio action films in recent memory. This dull, bloated, terribly filmed mess of a movie is a chore to sit through and a new low for the Taken franchise. Swapping out the simplicity of the kidnapping thriller for a convoluted and idiotic whodunit, Taken 3 is a laughably bad misfire that is an embarrassment to all involved.

Taken 3 continues the adventures of Bryan Mills (Neeson), the former soldier/government agent with a history of family issues. He's settling down to his quiet life, when his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) is murdered and the blame falls on Mills. With a driven cop (Forest Whitaker) on his tail, Mills must his "particular set of skills" to stop the bad guys, protect his daughter and clear his own name. The trail of violence leads Mills to a gang of Russian mobsters, a lot of money, and a crucial betrayal from a friend. 

In all seriousness, Taken 3 is one of the most tedious and awful movies I've ever seen. Seriously. It's that bad. Liam Neeson is the only good thing about this movie, and even his presence is not enough to elevate this movie at all. You would think that a film with Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott would be at least mildly engaging, but that is certainly not the case with Taken 3. It's a cliche-ridden with more unintentional laughs than genuine thrills. It's so incompetently made and I feel absolutely awful for everyone involved.

Let's start with the directing. It's so bad. When I was watching this movie, I started to notice something. There were a lot of cuts during the action that made the film very hard to watch. At that point, I remembered Chris Stuckmann's warning. In his review of the film, Stuckmann noted how poorly filmed and borderline incomprehensible the action was. And he was spot-on. The choppy, dizzying action is nauseating to watch and you often can't tell what's going on or why. The shot length is definitely under a second and there's a chance that you could blink and miss a lot of stuff. It's just awful.

Awful pretty much just describes this film in general. The story is also miserably bland and uninteresting with twists that don't do anything interesting and characters that are terribly boring. The biggest problem with Taken 3 is that it thinks we care about the characters and their stupid little problems. A subplot about Mills' daughter struggling to tell him that she's pregnant is just plain idiotic and I was laughing through much of the silly domestic drama. Forest Whitaker's character is also poorly written and completely laughable (he figures out that Mills didn't commit the crime by eating bagels from the scene). The screenplay is simply flat-out terrible with grating dialogue and even more ridiculous characters.

I know that my reviews are typically much longer than this. But with Taken 3, I don't even feel that I need to say much more. Taken 3 is simply atrocious. I love Liam Neeson and a lot of the talent involved, but I hated every second of this movie. It's overlong by about a half hour and every moment was disastrously boring. It switches between serious and goofy (the final scene features Neeson fighting a Russian mobster while the mobster is in nothing but his underwear) on a dime and the action is hard to watch. Although I think that there's more to be done with Neeson as an action hero, his days as Bryan Mills are numbered. This simple, interesting premise has turned into one of the worst action franchises in Hollywood, with a final installment that provides the last nail in the coffin.

THE FINAL GRADE:  F                                                 (2/10)

Image Credits: Variety, Screen Rant

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