Movie Review: Taken 3

By Matthew Huntley

January 14, 2015

He's getting too old for this shit.

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This time around, instead of honing his skills to save either himself or his family from a kidnapping situation, Bryan must clear his name of murder. As for whose murder, I’ll let you discover, but Bryan returns from a jog one morning and finds a dead body in his bed and the LAPD shows up almost immediately to pin it on him. He of course avoids arrest, outruns the cops during a typical chase sequence, and proceeds to conduct his own research and investigation to see who’s behind it all.

Chasing him is Inspector Dotzler (Forest Whitaker), who slowly learns just who this guy is and that he’s no ordinary murder suspect, not with his highly specialized and lethal abilities. When he and Bryan exchange words for the first time, Bryan pleads for Dotzler to give him two days to find out who’s framing him, but Dotzler say he can’t do that, and vows to bring him in. Bryan’s response: “Good luck.”

Taken 3 essentially goes through all the standard motions of a routine, wrongly-accused-man picture. And, as such, it borrows heavily from the ne plus ultra of wrongly-accused-man pictures, The Fugitive, and some of the parallels between it and the latter almost seem deliberate, including an escape through a sewer tunnel.


And just like Taken and Taken 2, the movie has some really solid moments surrounded by too many ordinary ones, which is a common problem for this series. Some of the better scenes include Bryan carrying out his “rabbit hole” plan, or what he and his cohorts would do if they ever found themselves in a dire situation (like, say, being accused of murder). I liked that we continue to learn just how resourceful Bryan is and that he’s thought of everything well ahead of time. For instance, he already has an underground passageway that can be used as an escape route (just in case he ever needed one). And in a carefully conceived hideout spot underneath a warehouse, he assembles a gun from parts that are spread out all over the place in very precise locations. These scenes proved to be more interesting and believable than others, like when Bryan plugs a device into a car’s wire system to obtain its GPS history (we know it’s working because the word “Download” is perfectly legible on the display). I also liked the climax, which, if you can believe it, finds Bryan driving a Porsche onto a tarmac and colliding with a jet. We doubt anyone would actually survive such an impact, but it sure was neat to see.

But a few really solid scenes aren’t enough to sustain the entire film. Taken 3 is not a bad movie by any means, but it’s also not a necessary one. If you’re a fan of the series, there’s little reason to think you won’t at least enjoy this supposed finale, even if there isn’t whole lot in it you haven’t seen before, either from the genre itself or the first two movies. This is a Taken movie all right, but at this point, it should have really tried to be more than that.

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