Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Third Time’s Not the Charm With ‘Taken 3’

Taken 2, despite the critical panning it received, was something I tolerated and even enjoyed.  Taken 3?  Not so.  It’s simply an unremarkable, forgettable movie – neither good enough to be impressed and satisfied about, nor even bad enough to enjoy lampooning.  I thought that a “being-set-up-for-murder” premise instead of another “kidnapping” premise would provide a fresh adventure for the franchise, but what resulted was a dumb, mediocre story.  If it hadn’t been a part of a popular franchise, if it didn’t star Liam Neeson, and if it hadn’t featured Brian Mills, one of the most notably badass fictional spooks ever, by itself, Taken 3 can be easily dismissed as an averagely bad direct-to-video movie.  

Liam Neeson will always have an awesome screen presence, and this holds true in Taken 3.  However, the characterization of Bryan Mills in Taken 3 is poor.   The character seemed to be less smart, less badass, and less well-layered.  It felt like Mills was downgraded into a clichéd action hero.  Most of the blame is definitely on the bad script, but the likelihood of Neeson getting tired working on a franchise that is getting uninspired by the movie could probably have contributed, too

Good, engaging characters often distract me from most of a story’s problems.  So without that aspect unavailable, finding things to nitpick is made easier.  The narrative was lazy and insipid.  The directing, editing, and camera job were untidy.  The bulk of the action scenes were unexciting and unoriginal.  The musical choice was awful.  Most of the characters were uninteresting.  In summary, Taken 3 is a waste of a great character in Bryan Mills, a waste of a great actor in Liam Neeson, a waste of the first Taken movie’s goodwill and world-building, and an overall waste of time.                      

(/Sigh)  John Wick probably ruined every action movie for me.     

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