Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen
Running Time: 109 minutes
Release Date: January 8th
Since his late-in-the-day career makeover with Taken in 2008, Liam Neeson hasn’t exactly been gracing the big screen with classics movies, or even good movies for the most part. Aside from The Grey, Neeson’s geri-action CV reads like a Razzie Nominations Best-Of: Clash Of The Titans, The A-Team, Unknown, Taken 2, Wrath Of The Titans, Battleship, A Million Ways to Die in the West and Non-Stop. Yikes. Apparently neither he nor Taken 2 director Oliver Megaton have learned anything from their last joint venture – which they both promised would be their last – with this equally watered down and nonsensical trilogy closer.
Having run out of loved ones to get taken, Mills (Neeson) finds himself in the middle of the plot of The Fugitive, having been framed for the murder of his wife (Janssen), he goes on the run from the law (figureheaded by Whitaker, who is only there to remind us how bad-ass Mills is with some truly shoddy exposition dialogue) to find the identity of the true killer. It’s so blindingly obvious from the get-go who the perpetrator is that any potential curiosity is completely absent, while Mills still spends half the movie trying to protect his daughter (Grace) despite the fact that she’s not in any real danger from anyone, since the majority of the plot has nothing to do with her.
With no real plot to back it up, the film must rest on Neeson’s grizzly performance and Megaton’s action set-pieces. Unfortunately for both, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and seen done better. Neeson seems to sleepwalk through most of the movie, snapping necks and causing untold deaths in highway pile-ups across Los Angeles, but not really emoting in the way you’d suspect a man would having seen the murdered body of his wife just hours earlier. Megaton films all these neck-snappings and car-crashes with in such retina-distorting close-ups and constant shaky camerawork that more often than not you’ve no idea what is going on until the scene is over and we can make out who is still standing.
When the Taken series began, there was such potential there for a modern day Death Wish, B-movie style violent action thriller series. When Taken 2 arrived and had its teeth pulled out for the sake of a bigger box office, there were lessons to be learned. But with Taken 3 arriving with another 12a cert, an even lower IQ and added boredom, we can only respond by not going to see it, not giving them the financial incentive to keep making more, and only hope this is the final nail in the franchise’s coffin. Otherwise we’re all just being Taken 4: Fools.