When the dismal ‘Taken 2’ became France’s biggest ever global hit, a third instalment was inevitable. The only question was: would writer-producer Luc Besson and director Olivier Megaton be happy just to coast along, offering audiences another brainless cavalcade of shakycam action and growling macho nonsense?
We catch up with ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) in yet another emotional tangle. Daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is unexpectedly pregnant, while ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) is falling out of love with her second husband (Dougray Scott) and slipping back into Bryan’s rugged orbit. Then a body is discovered, Bryan is framed, and the chase is on.
‘Taken 3’ scores over its predecessor on almost every level: the stakes are higher, the LA locations are nicely photographed and, best of all, there’s an actual plot, with twists and everything. The characters feel more rounded too. Neeson is still going through the motions, but he’s backed up by a solid crew of returning regulars and newcomers including Forest Whitaker as a likeably crumpled cop.
Megaton‘s epileptic, herky-jerky action sequences are still frustratingly hard to follow, and there’s never a pretence that this is anything more than easy product for an undemanding audience. But in this series, average is an improvement.