Movie Review: Taken 3

It sucked. Do not see it.

I should end it right there, but that would be unprofessional. What I will say is save your money and go see Inherent Vice. Even if you know nothing about it, see it anyway. It is funny, insane, incredible, and an experience that does not come round too often. Stop reading and get yourself a ticket. If you even think about skipping for Taken 3, you are an idiot.

* * *

I am not better than anyone else. I do not think highly of myself, I find it hard to acknowledge gratitude one feels when I do something one likes, and I get uncomfortable when I win awards. I try to be as modest and unbiased as possible, especially in my critiques, but when it comes to action movies, there is the good and the bad. Sure you can argue for those that are good-bad, but for me, after seeing Gareth Evans’ The Raid series, I am confident there will never be something that good for years to come. And the Taken series does not even come close.

Taken is more akin to something on the Disney Channel and more boring. I understand it is PG-13, but if you want good action, you cannot go wrong with an R rating. The best action films push the envelope with their content because the genre is not built to have restraints. Furthermore, and this is a complaint exclusive to myself, it does not help that the human trafficking premise was done better in Punisher: The Slavers by Garth Ennis. Perhaps that makes me unfit to review this movie, but I am going to do it anyway.

Before I go on, I must let you know I did not see Taken 2 because the first one was so uninteresting. Anything that happened in 3 that pertains to 2 was lost on me.

You can tell from the prologue that 3 sucked. Compared to the first, it is worse; does not even qualify for good-bad status. What makes it especially bad on a personal level is I am staying up late to write this, after seeing two movies on the same night, something I have not done for a review. I cannot believe I spent money on something I am losing sleep over, and I have class in 12 hours.

The story is… *shakes head* Jesus Christ… Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, is framed for the murder of his wife Lenore, played by the seemingly immortal and beautiful Famke Janssen. He sets out to find her killer while avoiding the persistent and intelligent Detective Dotzler, played by Forest Whitaker.

I really want to end it right here. Either you take what I am saying to heart or you are somehow a fan of these movies and will disregard anything I say.

Whoever shot and edited this film needs to see a doctor because everything was shaky, unclear, and edited in a way that implies the production thought the audience was too stupid to focus. It seems to be a new trend in Hollywood to make shot-cuts as fast as possible to keep our attention. It is about as insulting as a Michael Bay film.

It also does not help that everything felt super cheap. I imagine the production had grand ambitions, but a meager budget. Rather than cut down on what the wanted and settling for simple, they cut corners using special effects so cheap it makes Sharknado look like Interstellar. Battlestar Galactica used similar effects, but only in moderation and in situations where they could not be done practically. In 3, it is so jarring and obvious how bad they were; I could not believe this was released in theaters.

The plot was… Whatever. I do not care anymore. What are you expecting? I mean, why would you go to the trouble of framing a guy who has a history of being an elusive assassin? And at the end, when you have an opportunity to get away with what you have done, why would you actively provoke said assassin into chasing you by taking his daughter?

Dredd and The Raid took place in one location, had simple stories, and they are both far superior films that you should be watching… after you watch Inherent Vice.

Believe it or not, there were a few things I liked, one being Liam Neeson.

As an actor, he has the versatility of a Stoner 63: he can be emotional and heartfelt in dramas, or loud and nasty in action. The man was Oscar Schindler, Michael Collins, “Priest” Vallon, Ra’s al Ghul, and Aslan, within the span of a decade. I have problems with him as a person, like his stance on gun control:

I find it strange that a man, who grew up in Northern Ireland, has a problem with firearms, when the IRA were putting nails in their bombs and setting British soldiers on fire. But no, guns are the problem; not weapons that can kill and maim swathes of people in less than a second, and not the terrorists that used them on pubs and churches.

However, I am willing to look beyond my issues and regard Neeson as untouchable for his skill and history as an actor.

Forest Whitaker was all right as he made the best of a terrible script. Maggie Grace was decent as Kim; no real complaints there. There were a couple good fight scenes like one in a convenience store and one where Neeson stops a plane from lifting off with a car. Granted they were hard to follow because the cameraman was having a seizure, but they were cool once you figured out what was going on.

So yeah, Taken 3 is not worth anything. I feel bad for saying all of this, but the movie deserves it. It was worse than Big Eyes. It is even more depressing because I saw it right after Inherent Vice; I traded a wonderful experience for something that makes me want to drag a box-cutter across my throat. I do not even want to edit this paper. I want to go to sleep and forget about the 11 dollars I paid for this crap.

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