Taken 3 **
Dir: Olivier Megaton
Starring: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott
The first two movies in the franchise were entertaining action films set in exotic locales and powered by the charismatic Liam Neeson. As Bryan Mills, ex-CIA operative with “a particular set of skills” which he uses to free his family members from the clutch of dastardly kidnappers and sex-slave traffickers, Neeson sold us on the premise.
A gritty, stripped down approach to producer Luc Besson’s typical adrenaline inducing fare also helped us to overcome any preposterousness in the script or action.
The third instalment in the series, however, takes the action to such outlandish levels as Mills lays waster to Los Angeles in his quest for vengeance that disbelief can no longer be suspended. At one point, as Mills takes on a whole bunch of Russian gangsters (the de facto bad guys in Hollywood these days other than “Islamic” terrorists) I thought that this is just as bad (or good, depending on your perspective) as Sultan Rahi taking on a hundred bad guys with just his gandasa and escaping unscathed. And why the main Russian gangster just doesn’t shoot Mills when he has the chance is beyond me.
Similarly, how the mayhem that Mills creates on the Los Angeles freeway doesn’t result in multiple civilian casualties is a mystery for which there is no satisfactory explanation.
On top of all of that, Los Angeles just doesn’t cut it in terms of “exotic” locale when compared to Paris and Istanbul. It’s probably now time to put this franchise to rest.
Cut to chase: Not quite taken in by the latest instalment of the franchise.