Taken 3

So the good news is that this one was actually a little better than Taken 2, though of course that's not saying much. But they moved away from the initial plot this time, which helped, except that also leads us to the bad news: The title is now completely wrong, since no one really gets taken this time, unless they mean in the sense of being fooled, like 'taken for a ride', though the 'plot twist' at the end is hardly a shock. Admittedly, one character does get grabbed and thrown into the back of a van, but since that character was only grabbed so as to be killed, I'm not really counting that.

Anyway, Liam Neeson is back, of course, because without him they'd really have to change the name. Famke Janssen gets more screen time than she did in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but not by much. And Maggie Grace (Lockout)... doesn't do a great deal, now that I think about it, though she is on screen a lot. At least there's Forest Whitaker (The Last Stand) around to help keep things interesting, playing Dotzler, apparently the only reasonably intelligent police officer around... except for when he sits down at a crime scene and eats some evidence, at least. The plot sadly needed a dose of intelligence, though even he seemed willfully blind to the "twist ending". But to be fair, the script doesn't do a great job of showing the clues, either.

Anyway, Bryan is again using his very particular skill set to full advantage, this time to keep him several steps ahead of the police, though as already implied that doesn't seem terribly difficult. These police don't even take the basic precaution of having a divider between the front and back seats of their squad cars. They're also so desperate to catch Liam Neeson that they'll shoot at him regardless of cars full of innocent people in the way or even fellow police officers that might also get hit by friendly fire, so you can understand my low opinion of them. But all the better for making our hero shine, I suppose.

There are lots of Russian Mafia types, since they always make useful villains, and pretty much everything else that comes standard with your average action flick. Sam Spruell of The Counselor plays one of the bad guys who gets to beat up Bryan for a while, but on the down side has to do so while wearing a pretty unfortunate swimsuit.

So not exactly another retread, thankfully, but not exactly anything exciting, either, so let's go with three out of five. A friend of mine said he'd be happy just watching Liam Neeson beat people up for a couple of hours, regardless of plot, so if that's all you're after, too, you're all set.

Liam meets Kung-Fu Panda.


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