26 ene. 2015

Taken 3 (4/10): A parody of The Fugitive more than an actual sequel

“If you go down this road, the LAPD, the FBI, the CIA... they're all gonna come for you. They'll find you. And they'll stop you.”

Taken 3 is less of a sequel and more of a parody of memorable action films such as The Fugitive and even the first Taken. I was a huge fan of the original which I even included among my favorite films the year it came out because I was blown away by Liam Neeson’s performance and the gripping action sequences. I also admit defending the sequel, although it is a decision I regret now that I have rewatched the film, because I just loved the character that Neeson plays. I thought the idea of a franchise for Bryan Mills would be an awesome one, but you just can’t continue making it revolve around his family. I mean his daughter should be in desperate need of a psychiatrist after everything that she has gone through. I don’t know how Maggie Grace pulls it off, but she looks even younger now than she did 10 years ago when she starred in the first season of Lost. This time the plot revolves around Bryan’s ex-wife getting murdered and him getting framed for her death. While being chased by the police, Bryan has to discover who was behind Lenny’s murder. We’ve seen this plot played out many times before, but no one has done it better than The Fugitive. You even have Forest Whitaker here playing the smart detective trying to solve the case while he is chasing Bryan (similar to what Tommy Lee Jones did in The Fugitive). The villains in this film are probably the weakest element and are often laughable which is why I felt this was sort of a parody instead of an action movie. The action scenes are difficult to watch because the camera is moving all the time and there are over 50 shots every minute or so. There are also many unbelievable scenes which Bryan walks out of without a scratch, and we don’t even see how he survives some of them. But somehow the climax outdoes them all in ridiculousness. Taken 3 is a huge letdown and hopefully the final film of the franchise as promised in the posters. 

Liam Neeson is an actor that I will always enjoy watching on screen, especially when making action scenes and threatening people over the phone. My only recommendation is that they don’t show him running because it isn’t one of his strengths. Unfortunately the film has so many shots and cuts that you can’t enjoy Neeson fighting off the villains. Forest Whitaker is a great actor, but you can tell that sometimes he is just cashing in a performance. He is basically playing the same character he did in The Last Stand although this time he pays with a rubber band around his wrist while trying to solve the case. At this point I guess I would rather watch a film where Liam Neeson is threatening villains over the phone than actually seeing director Megaton ruining the action by cutting one shot after another every second. Fake Janssen doesn’t get much screen time and I guess she bailed the franchise at the right moment. The villains have no personality whatsoever in this film (which I would argue is the case in the entire franchise, but at least they were threatening the first time around). The screenplay is full of plot holes and in the end you have to go through the tedious explanation of what we already know has happened just in case the audience was stupid and didn’t understand what they saw. But perhaps they did it for those of us who may have fallen asleep during the action scenes because this is by far the longest film in the franchise and you feel it.

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