Film review: Taken 3 – Impossible to recommend

The first Taken film propelled Liam Neeson to action man stardom and became one of the most surprising hits of 2009. Its successor to some extent managed to capture the same thrilling suspense despite its ridiculous 12A certification.

After numerous rumours that Neeson wouldn’t return for a third instalment, he decided to give Bryan Mills his last outing in Taken 3, but can it hold a candle to its predecessors?

Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace in Taken 3 (2014). Photo: Daniel McFadden - © 2014 EUROPACORP

Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace in Taken 3 (2014). Photo: Daniel McFadden – © 2014 EUROPACORP

No is the short answer. Everything from Neeson’s phoned-in performance to the horrific camerawork and poor special effects ensure it becomes the first turkey of 2015.

Taken 3 follows Mills as he tries to evade the LAPD after he is wrongly accused of killing his wife Lenny – played by Famke Janssen who, was clearly more interested in the pay cheque than anything else.

This is the first problem with the film. Showing the killing of Janssen’s character in the trailer makes the audience all too aware of where the film is going – destroying any suspense that you would expect from the murder of a series’ main character.

Maggie Grace returns as Kim, now looking like the world’s oldest teenager and is the only actor to leave the film with their reputation intact. Her performance is decent but the hammy, almost comedic dialogue she is given to work with spoils her credibility.

A new addition to the series is Forest Whitaker who plays the detective tasked with bringing Mills in, Franck Dotzler, though he again gives a career-worst performance.

As with its predecessor, Taken 3 suffers from a ridiculous 12A certification which means that Neeson is only able to look vaguely menacing. The action which was such an integral part of the first film is completely lost and becomes repetitive after seeing the 15th punch in a row.

Unfortunately, Oliver Megaton’s uninspiring direction only worsens things. Taking lessons from the Michael Bay school of cinematography, everything is ridiculously shaky, devoid of any suspense or tension at all.

The final act of Taken 3’s 109 minute running time alleviates the offerings somewhat but there’s a twist you can see coming from a mile away.

Overall, Neeson’s performances have always bettered some of the more average films of his career, but by the time the end credits roll here it feels like Liam himself is fed up.

From an incomprehensible script to bland performances, Taken 3 is a dire film which simply is impossible to give a recommendation.

Taken 3 (2014) Rating: 3/10