The first review of 2015. Let me say it begins only marginally better than last year. We begin with a movie that has left many people asking and I quote:
“Are you joking? Taken 3 is a real thing?” and “How?”
So now that the movie is out and people know I am not joking about it’s existence, was the movie in fact a joke?
Let’s start with a script from Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. The two have worked together before with Kamen giving us movies since 1981’s TAPS, 84’s Karate Kid. With Besson they have given us such gems as The Fifth Element, Taken, and The Transporter. What we can take from this there isn’t a thinly veiled reason to kick ass that they don’t like and want to recycle into the ground. I honestly, do love most of their work, actually almost all of it, there is a certain level of insanity to their stories where you know they were finishing off a magnum of wine each and went “what if we…“. We love them for it.
Ok so plot isn’t their strong suit in the past decade. A reason to watch people kick butt is (thank you Lucy). Which leaves me scratching my head on how they were so bloody dull and unimaginative here. There’s absolutely nothing we have not seen before in other better movies, usually by these two.
Perhaps we can blame the director Olivier Megaton, who hasn’t met a tripod or steady cam he has liked. There were moments in the first twenty minutes I wondered if his camera man suffered from some muscular disorder and was attempting to work through it. Even the work that was done with helicopters was so quick and cut that you have no choice but wonder if Josh Trank snuck into the editing room to cut the movie. There is nothing here from the director, nothing at all. Nothing original, nothing interesting, and nothing inspired. It is so paint by numbers that you could sleep through half of it and wake up and not be surprised at well – anything.
The only thing resembling saving this film is the actors. Not because they do anything remarkable, they just act. But you have to understand being able to act with this story, director, and film – AND- remain interesting takes quite a bit of work. Neeson does his usual and wears the role of Bryan Mills like an old suit, preferably one to be thrown out soon or given to good will. Maggie Grace is surprisingly the bright spot in the film who covers a good range of emotions, but alas is not given as much to do as I want to see from her, especially after the second film. Forest Whitaker joins the cast as a police inspector chasing Mills through the film. The three of them are the strengths of the film and I will let that statement stand.
Again from a technical perspective the film just is flat. The camera work looks as if they filmed during an earthquake. The cuts are atrocious. The stunts are no where near as interesting as the first two films. Even some of the plot contrivances are pathetically ridiculous – more so than the others. Which is hard to beat.
I bagged on the movie pretty hard, but at least I wasn’t bored or particularly irritated. I was mostly just meh. I couldn’t come up with any real emotion in the film except when Grace was on screen hoping they would do more.
Honestly, and this is as close to a spoiler as I get – why did they call it Taken 3 when no one is taken? The trailer tells you the plot and doesn’t deviate.
Talking with two of the lovely people at the theatre after the movie, we agree just call the movie:
Liam Neeson or Liam Neeson Beats Up the World
It would have made more sense and probably done as well at the box office as this one did. If you are even remotely curious, no …still wait. Just don’t see this. The tagline is “It ends here”; and we hope so.
To borrow from the Nostalgia Critic, I watched it so you don’t have to.