Taken 3 is a film I didn’t expect to be reviewing when I saw the comparatively low-budget original Taken movie, where Bryan Mills’ daughter, Kim, was kidnapped… sorry, taken. It was okay but nothing more. However, the modest $25m investment led to a return nearing $150m in the US, alone, by the time it left the cinemas.
Taken 2, which was terrible beyond words, upped the budget to a still quite modest $45m and took close to $150m again. And then came Taken 3. Just a slight amount more in the budget pot at $48m, while taking a lower amount at $89m in the US box office, but in any event, films like the Taken series will also find a large audience on the home market, on Blu-ray, DVD, streaming et al.
And since Taken 3 was a hugely successful continuation of the series, then despite the tagline “It ends here“, I would very much doubt that. In fact, I expect that in years to come, after Liam Neeson shuffles off his mortal coil, the family dog will Lassie-style, head out across the world to avenge the murder of his owner, a murder which was made to look like a suicide, but the dog knew something was up because Russian mafia boss, Ivan Dobrydov, called him for walkies with a terrible attempt at an American accent… just like Neeson, in fact, but you know how dogs have a sixth sense for this sort of thing. That film will be Taken 19: Dogged.
(Yes, about as original as ‘Taken‘, ‘Taken 2‘ and ‘Taken 3‘)
However, as bad as the second installment was, I was curious to see just what they’d do in the third movie – surely they’ve run through the whole family now, and it might be the hamster that gets it?
That said, I’ve gone into other movies with very low expectations, like Transformers: Age of Extinction, and been pleasantly surprised.
And I couldn’t watch it in the cinema as all three films have been censored in that format, but more on that later.
The film begins with Bad Russian Guy (Malankov, played by Sam Spruell) telling Timid American Guy that they have a problem, because the man’s boss owes him a lot of money. And Bad Russian Guy looks like Jason Flemyng with a bad bowl haircut, rather like something dating back to the 1990’s “Madchester” music style. Naturally, Bad Russian Guy doesn’t get his money and Timid American Guy gets a bullet in the shoulder for his trouble, which seems to somehow kill him.
As for what or who gets taken in this ‘threequel’, it’s clearly the letter ‘M’ from the name of Kim’s boyfriend, as he’s called “Jimy”.
Well, no, it’s not that. That would be daft, surely? No sooner than Bryan being warned off seeing ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) in any shape or form by new hubby Stuart (Dougray Scott), does he find her dead in her apartment. The cops turn up seconds later, assume it’s him and before you can say “Bryan – show us your particular set of skills!“, he’s incapacitated the donut eaters and he’s now on the run, accused of a crime he didn’t commit (nice fresh plot, then).
Forest Whitaker sports a ridiculous goatee as chief cop Dotzler, and many times you’ll be asking how did Bryan get to where he is, location-wise. Implausibility is the name of the game, here, and when Dotzler is asked by an underling about sending someone to track Mills’ current location, the cop ignores the “Finding bad guys” handbook and says, “Don’t bother. He’s gone“, in exactly the same a real cop wouldn’t.
The dialogue is excruiatingly bad. As Bryan invites Lenore over for dinner, and she rejects him for no other reason than she can look empowered as the lens flare shines all around her, he subsequently tells the stuffed panda toy sat next to him, “I know what you’re thinking… keep it to yourself.”
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film, plus a look at the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.