Saturday, January 10, 2015

Taken 3 Review

Liam Neeson saved a whole ton of Jews from the Nazis. He trained both Obi-Wan and Batman.  He's both Zeus and Aslan, making him a god in two different religions. He fights wolves in his spare time. He stopped a terrorist duo from crashing a plane and stopped a serial killer just last year. And he's proven twice now that it's a bad idea to kidnap his family. Why would you kill his wife and try to blame it on him? Bad idea! Yes, we're talking about Taken 3 here. Quite honestly I wasn't a huge fan of Taken at all. I'm good at putting reality on hold for the sake of a fun movie, but for one reason or another, I thought that movie crossed a line somewhere as I just thought it was a dumb movie. Also being honest, I had zero interest in seeing Taken 2 when it came out towards the end of 2012 because I already didn't like the first and the reviews for the second were in the basement. So why did I give Taken 3 a shot? Quite honestly, I realized that my opinion of the franchise wasn't present on my blog, so I saw this so that I could express that opinion. As always, I went in with an open mind, hoping that the movie would surprise, but no. It didn't.

The premise of Taken 3 was actually one that intrigued me. They took it from a kidnapping action movie into a crime drama action movie. I like crime dramas, so I was hoping that this would be good. Taken 3 stars Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble who is unfairly accused of murdering his wife, so he goes on the run from the police to find the real killer and thus get his name cleared. Oh wait, no, that's not right. That's The Fugitive. Taken 3 stars Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills who is unfairly accused of murdering his wife, so he goes on the run from the police to find the real killer and thus get his name cleared. Yes, I realized that this is why the premise intrigued me. The Fugitive is an amazing movie. Taken 3 has the exact same premise as The Fugitive. This isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes you can have two movies with the exact same premise that are both awesome. This is not the case here, though.

As I reflect on Taken 3, one of the biggest problems that makes this movie a complete mess is the writing. You can do a movie where someone is framed for murder, but in this case it's complete bogus. There is almost nothing in this movie that would make one believe that Bryan Mills actually killed his wife. Ok, his wife is dead in his apartment with a knife on the floor. That's suspicious. It's also suspicious that Bryan Mills immediately runs away. But soon after this, Forest Whitaker's team takes the floor and carefully analyzes the scene. After they do, they should easily pick up on the fact that there is something more happening here. If this was Forest Whitaker's team from Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, they would've cracked this pretty fast. But no. They just put all the blame on Bryan Mills and start chasing him. Even when they realize that there could be others involved, they just say that Mills is their only suspect that they have so they are just going to go after only him. What? This makes no sense at all. Why is this happening? Now if this was the only confusing thing, I could forgive it. But this is just one example. The whole movie is just riddled with terrible writing throughout and it took me out of the movie. 

The acting isn't the problem in this movie. I like Liam Neeson. In fact, he's one of my favorite actors. I usually love his movies. Last year he did Non-Stop and A Walk Among the Tombstones and I enjoyed both of those even though many did not. I even own Non-Stop thanks to a good black Friday deal. Also, as I referenced briefly in the last paragraph, I really like Forest Whitaker in the investigator role. Criminal Minds is one of my favorite current TV shows and I even enjoyed the spin-off show Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior that got cancelled after 13 episodes. If you didn't know, Forest Whitaker was the lead of that Suspect Behavior show, which is why I said that his crew would've solved this case really fast. For me, it was really fun seeing Whitaker back in this role. In fact, it almost made this a good show because he did a good job. It wasn't his fault that the movie was bad and it certain wasn't Liam Neeson's. Both of them were just given nothing to work with.

In addition to the terrible writing throughout that just made this movie laughable, the editing throughout the whole movie, especially during the action scenes, drove me crazy. The movie was full of what must've been hundreds of one-second shots that jumped all over the place. The more intense the action scenes got, the faster, or more frequent, those one-second shots got. It was giving me a headache. If I'm watching an action movie like this, the action is supposed to be entertaining, but it wasn't. It was terrible. And to add to that, the movie took a really long time to finally get to the types of scenes that make up the Taken brand. That being Liam Neeson going through and beating the crap out of everyone that dared come in his way. Most of the movie was just a poorly done, poorly written crime drama where Neeson was running away from the cops and trying to figure out who really killed his wife. There's really nothing Taken about this, except for in the last ten minutes.

In the end, if you are looking for a movie to see this weekend, go see Selma. Or go see one of the holiday holdovers that you missed. Don't give this piece of garbage your money. Taken 3 does have a good cast that do the best with what they are given, but that's about it. I only gave a few specific examples, but the whole movie is full of terrible writing that make the movie not make sense. In addition to that, this is an action movie where the action doesn't really kick into gear until the final third of the movie. And when it does, it is some of the worst action sequences that I have scene in a very long time. The movie was advertised as the final chapter in the Taken series and I really hope that they stay true to that promise because the world shouldn't be punished with more of these crappy taken movies. I'm giving Taken 3 a 5/10. 

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