Taken 3
dir Olivier Megaton
prd Luc Besson
scr Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
with Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Forest Whitaker, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Jonny Weston, Leland Orser, Don Harvey, Dylan Bruno, Jon Gries, Andrew Howard
release US/UK 9.Jan.15
15/France Canal+ 1h49
Taken 3
Daddy's got it all under control: Neeson and Grace

janssen whitaker scott
See also:
taken (2008) taken 2 (2012)
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Taken 3 The germ of a decent idea is abandoned for the third time in this boneheaded action franchise. By losing the kidnapping-revenge theme, writer-producer Besson almost avoids his dodgy "violence solves everything" morality. But the story lacks logic, the filmmaking is bombastic and manipulative, and the action scenes are incoherent.

In Los Angeles, former super-soldier Bryan (Neeson) is trying to bond with his daughter Kim (Grace) while waiting for his ex-wife Lenore (Jansson) to leave her sweaty-weasel husband Stuart (Scott). Then Bryan is set up for murder, and local police Inspector Franck (Whitaker) wants to bring him in for questioning. But Bryan is too slippery to hold, taunting the cops while he dashes around tracing the murder to a Russian mafioso Malankov (Spruell). But something's fishy. And with the help of an old pal (Orser), Bryan intends to sort out the mess.

The movie's structure mercifully departs from the first two episodes, becoming a straightforward pursuit mystery punctuated by stunt-intensive set pieces including a foot pursuit between houses, a chaotic freeway car chase and a mountain-road ambush. Not one of these scenes is remotely surprising, partly because everything about this film is predictable but also because these sequences seem to have been edited with a paper-shredder, leaving a blur of quick cuts, loud noises and a final explosion for good measure.

The lazy script continually cheats by introducing random technology and improbably coincidences, and each time it dips into melodrama it becomes almost laughably ridiculous. The dialog is inane to the point of distraction, mainly because everything is so painfully obvious (cue yet another bagel reference). And the characters aren't much better. Despite a strong cast that can breathe life into even the most simplistic character, these are such thinly written people that it's almost impossible to care what happens to any of them.

Besson has proven his skills as a filmmaker, but this isn't even in the same league as his previous movie, the guilty pleasure Lucy, which at least had its own sort of insane logic. By comparison, this script feels like it was rattled off in about two hours, then they shot the first draft without bothering to think through the plot, compensating by editing the film so chaotically that hopefully no one would notice. That said, watching the fiercely cool Neeson roar around on another personal rampage is rather a lot of fun.

cert 12 themes, violence, language 5.Jan.15

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