The first major issue with the third installment of the Taken franchise is that nobody is taken.
Following the under-the-radar hit filled with insane amount of awesome from star Liam Neeson, and the semi-respectable action-packed sequel, Taken 3 has sort of run out of ways for Neeson’s daughter Kim to be stolen away. So they set it up that he is framed for the murder of his ex-wife, in a plot involving a former Russian Spetsnaz soldier-turned-gangster who is owed some money. Neeson must prove his innocence while eluding the police, while doing his best to hunt down the bad guys in the film.
The plot itself isn’t too bad, but Taken 3 lacks where the other films excelled. There just isn’t that much action, and when there is, it pales in comparison to the thrills of the first two movies. Neeson is definitely getting older, and the hand-to-hand battles are definitely lacking. They simply aren’t that good anymore, and odd editing makes the scenes somewhat choppy and lacking the seamless quality of before. Even the gun play is below average, and we are forced to believe that one of the best trained soldiers on earth is a poor shot with a machine gun from only a few feet away, aiming at an older target that is definitely not moving very quickly.
What has been created is a film that is more story heavy, which is fine, but doesn’t deliver the extreme payoffs that we have become accustomed to with the rest of the Taken series. This is a film that is supposed to create tension, but offers none.
Taken 3 ends the series in a whimper, despite being a watchable action film. It is by far not the worst thing out there, but it definitely isn’t the best, and there are surely better current action options out there to satisfy the car chase, fist fighting needs of viewers.