Taken 3 Blu-ray Review

    Actors: Dougray Scott, Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 21, 2015
  • Run Time: 109 minutes


            The tagline for Taken 3 was “It Ends Here.” Let’s hope that they were right, and this is the last atrocious attempt at forcing a franchise out of one solid action movie. I knew that this film was going to be awful long before I watched it, and that may have actually helped my viewing experience. While there was some hope that the second film might match the original’s ability to make unbelievable action entertaining, every aspect of the marketing campaign for Taken 3 seemed determined to lower my expectations. From the horrendously asinine decision to have the film promoted as Tak3n instead of Taken 3 to the fact that the plot doesn’t involve anyone getting taken, the advertisements for this second sequel felt more like parody than a sincere effort at action.  


            In what we can only hope is the final installment of the franchise, former CIA operative Bryan Mills (Lim Neeson) is pulled into a local conflict this time around. Adjusting to a quieter life in Los Angeles, Mills turns down a job in order to stay close to his daughter (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife (Famke Janssen) in Los Angeles. This choice for a quiet life is disturbed, however, when Mills is framed for murder and forced to go on the run. In what feels more like a bad sequel to The Fugitive rather than Taken, Mills is forced to evade the police manhunt while hunting down the real killer. Tracked by a savvy detective (Forest Whitaker) we know will inevitably help Mills uncover the truth, Taken 3 is filled with a series of predictable narrative twists and turns, hoping to make up for the unimpressive action sequences and the fact that the title makes no sense whatsoever.


            Taken 3 deters from the previous films in the franchise beyond the missing kidnapping element in other ways as well. Rather than the European setting of the first two, this film has Los Angeles as the action playground, and switches from Albanian to Russian for the villains with no discernable connection. We are essentially just following the protagonist from the other films, which is very similar to a majority of the roles that Neeson has played in the last five years. While the screenplay for Taken 3 is noticeably lackluster, I actually found the direction by Olivier Megaton to be an improvement from the previous film, which he also directed. Even with minor improvements from the stiffly unbelievable action of the second film, there is plenty to criticize. Neeson performs his own stunts but seems to approach some of the more physical aspects of the role with a half-ass commitment that makes it clear he was not willing to break a sweat to get the shot.


            Megaton also has a particularly difficult time getting convincing performances from his actors, especially the contrived early moments of the film that feature a jovial Neeson. Whitaker struggles to make the dialogue convincing, most of the time appearing to be struggling to simply remember his lines. Janssen survives the few scenes she has (at least as far as acting is concerned), but is treated as little more than a prop in the storyline. Worst yet is the return of Grace as the unlucky daughter of Mills. She landed this role while still riding the success of “Lost,” but each return to the franchise exposes her inability to handle bad dialogue with even a modicum of believability.


            The Blu-ray release of the film includes both the theatrical cut, along with an indiscernibly different unrated cut. The action never even reaches the level of intensity that the first film had, so I can’t imagine there was ever any danger of an R-rating. This is merely a ploy to convince consumers they will see a better film than the piece of crap released in theaters. The Blu-ray release also comes with a digital copy of the film, along with a handful of promotional featurettes and a few deleted scenes. There is also a photo gallery.  


    Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10

    Historical Significance:  2/10

    Special Features: 4.5/10



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