Liam Neeson is back on the big screen with his ‘particular set of skills’ as Bryan Mills in the third of the Taken series. Lucy Reynolds discovers that this time it’s… well, quite unlucky actually.
If I was the daughter of Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), I’d have my dad’s mobile number blocked. It seems that every time he phones, he’s telling her she’s in mortal danger and she is going to be ‘taken’. Imagine being in the middle of watching Cash in the Attic when he dropped that bombshell; you’d be raging.
Yes, Neeson is back with his ‘particular set of skills’ and cross to bear as the unluckiest man in the world – his life insurance premiums must be through the roof. This time round, after having his daughter kidnapped in the first film, then being kidnapped along with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) in the second offering, he now finds himself in the tragic position of not only finding Lenore brutally murdered but being framed for the killing. Deftly evading capture, Mills goes on the run, working with his ex-wife’s husband Stuart (Dougray Scott) to find the murderers and trying to keep LAPD Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) off his scent.
Now I think we can all agree that Liam Neeson is ace – no debate. He is immensely watchable and it’s kind of cool having a guy in his 60s running around kicking arse. His American accent may be slightly dodgy and, yes, when I say run, it’s becoming a little bit more of a lumbering jog, but, y’know, it’s Liam fucking Neeson. He pulls it off well.
There will always be those who say, “It’s not as good as the first Taken“, and they’d be right. But you should know that when you go to watch it: director Olivier Megaton obviously knew he had a hit on his hands and wants to milk it for all it’s worth. And it’s worth a lot: $40m in its opening weekend in the US to be precise. No matter how predictable certain scenes become, the Taken trilogy is billboard gold and this final episode does switch the table on the viewer slightly. Neeson is reported to have only agreed to do the film as long as no one was ‘taken’. They got killed instead – and he still has to go around swiftly, violently and sometimes creatively, dispatching people. Potato/patato.
Yet even though it’s been done and seen before, Taken 3 still works well as a high-octane punchy-kicky-action fest and Neeson and Whitaker shine on screen, making it a cut above the run-of-the-mill action thriller.
It’s the kind of film to watch when you don’t want to think too much: just enjoy the fight scenes, laugh at the overly choreographed action shots and wince occasionally when someone truly gets a kicking. It’s chewing gum for the brain but still satisfying, and Neeson never lets the viewer down. I do hope this is the end of the Taken series, though, if only for Bryan Mills’ sake. Poor bloke must be knackered.
Lucy is a teacher whose dream as a child was to be WWE Wrestling Champion. That dream is still alive.