Liam Neeson attends a "Taken 3" screening on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Liam Neeson attends a "Taken 3" screening on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Didn’t like movie ‘Taken 3’

“Taken 3”

EuropaCorp

1hr 52minutes

 

I didn’t like “Taken.” I know I’m in the minority on that. I know it jumpstarted the ass-kicking phase of Liam Neeson’s career. I know it was hugely successful. I just didn’t like it. I thought it was ugly and mean and a little dull. So they made a sequel and I liked that one even less. And this time, I wasn’t as much in the minority. “Taken 2” was terrible, but it still made money, so naturally we all get to be subjected to a full-on trilogy.

In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss any of these movies, Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, ex-CIA, Special Forces, super-ninja type who, when not working as a body guard, makes a habit of killing Albanian sex slavers. That was the first two movies. Sex slaves aren’t in the news so much now, though, so this time around our hero is going up against a Russian mobster. Russian mobsters are very in vogue right now. “Taken 3” begins, much as did “Taken 2,” with Bryan attempting to find a way into the lives of his daughter and his ex-wife Lenore. They like him more, now, though. Lenore’s new husband Stuart, on the other hand, not so much. After a minorly tense confrontation where Stuart requests that Bryan keep away from his wife, wouldn’t you know it, Lenore winds up dead in Bryan’s apartment. As our hero is the prime suspect, he has to go on the run and try to find out who killed his wife and why. Neeson is joined by Forrest Whitaker, playing the detective in pursuit, and poor Famke Jansen who finally was able to get out of this terrible series by being murdered.

There is so much wrong with this movie, but let’s first focus on something that’s right about it. For a second sequel, the first of which being a completely unimaginative retread of the original, at least they took the story in a new direction. No one was kidnapped or sold into slavery, and, as the entire movie takes place in LA., at least Bryan doesn’t have to learn a new language. Ok – enough positivity.

In my review of the second “Taken,” I complained that the editor had gone wild, including way too many cuts and making the action scenes nigh unwatchable. Apparently they didn’t get the memo, because this film was way worse. In the early scenes, Lenore and Bryan are having a casual after-dinner conversation, discussing their daughter. There’s no action, no tension, nothing – and yet I counted, no joke, over 40 cuts in this barely five-minute scene. It’s frankly difficult to watch, and the action scenes are worse. There was a joke going around on some of the sites I read this week: “How many cuts does it take for Liam Neeson to climb over a fence?” Answer: “A Megaton.” Ha ha! (If you didn’t get that, then you’re one of the few hundreds of millions of people that have never heard the name of director Olivier Megaton, a man who, with his great Bond villain name, has aspirations to be a great action movie director, despite the fact , that he has he’s only directed crappy ones.

In addition to the nightmare that was the editing bay, the dialogue is similarly atrocious. getting worse the longer the movie went one. One line I found particularly egregious went like this: Cop 1: “Do you want me to follow them boss.?! (The bad guys are fleeing the area.)” “Cop 2: “Naw, what’s the use., they could lose a tail if it was attached to a dog.” Sigh.

Neeson still does a passable job in these movies, and I suppose Whitaker does as well, but it’s too little too late. “Taken 3” is being touted as the final chapter, and I hope it is. I’m not sure how much more of Bryan Mills I can take. Grade: D

 

Chris Jenness is a freelance graphic designer, artist and movie buff who lives in Nikiski.

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