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Taken 3 (2014)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/24/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/25/2014
In my recent review forThe Wedding Ringer, I wrote about the classic Hollywood pitch, in which a writer attempts to boil their ideas down into a digestible nugget. This typically occurs when a writer (or writers) is presenting their original idea. I also believe that there is a similar process which goes on behind closed doors in which producers attempt to create an idea for a movie, usually with profits as the motivating factor. With Taken 3, I can only imagine that one person said, "I want to make another Taken movie" and another person said, "Oh yeh, well I want to remake The Fugitive" and then a third person stepped in and say, "Hey, I think that I know of something which will make everyone happy", and thus, Liam Neeson's latest slam-bang action film was born.
Taken 3 takes place following the events ofTaken 2. Former CIA operative and all-around badass Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is back home in Los Angeles enjoying, hanging out with his former black-ops buddies and planning for his daughter, Kim's (Maggie Grace) birthday. He has also been seeing more of his ex-wife, Lenora (Famke Janssen), as she's having difficulty in her marriage to Stuart St. John (Dougray Scott). When Lenora's body is found in Bryan's apartment, Bryan is the initial suspect. He suddenly finds himself on the run, hounded by Detective Franck Dotzler (Forrest Whitaker) and his men. Bryan must call on all of his training and skills in order to elude the police and clear his name.
Didn't I tell you? This is Taken crossed with The Fugitive and the movie never really does anything to hide that fact. Director Olivier Megaton and Writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen have clearly made a movie where they are attempting to give the audience what they want (or what they think that they want). And, they've put a twist on the tired Taken formula. We still get to see Liam Neeson in action, beating up bad guys, shooting everything in sight, and wrecking cars, but this time he's doing it to save himself, as opposed to his daughter. The action is nearly non-stop, and the movie mixes in many different kinds of stunt sequences.
For those who shudder at the idea of another Taken movie, especially when one takes into account how ludicrous and disappointing Taken 2 was, the fact that Taken 3 is a little different and that it opens with Lenora dying makes it intriguing. The first half of the movie plays as a mystery, as Bryan travels the city attempting to clear his name. But, Besson and Kamen run out of gas and the resolution to the mystery simply isn't satisfying. Therefore, Taken 3 simply turns into an action movie. Again, the action is very consistent, but with no sense of mystery to draw us into the movie, it simply becomes numbing after a while.
Where are we in the "Liam Neeson is a badass" movie count? I have no idea at this point. All that I know is that it seems like every six months we get another movie in which Neeson can't stop whaling on bad guys. Taken 3 makes the somewhat bold move of diverting from the formula seen in the first two films, but once that novelty wears off, we only have predictable action. When Taken was released in 2008, it was fun to see the normally serious Neeson in this role. Now, seven years later, the idea has gotten very tired. (As I'm sure Neeson must be at his age!) Taken 3 is an improvement over the second film and it's certainly watchable, but when it's over, you'll hope that the report that this is the final film in the series are true.
Taken 3 has a police car do a jump maneuver which would make Bo and Luke Duke proud on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. This transfer really excels at the level of detail and the depth, both of which contribute to the crispness of the picture. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As one would hope, the action sequences sound fantastic. The stereo effects help to illustrate moving across the scene and sounds coming from off-screen. The surround channels deliver clear effects and we get individual sounds from the rear. The subwoofer effects pack a punch without distortion.
The Taken 3 Blu-ray Disc contains a small assortment of extras. We get one DELETED SCENE which runs about 7 minutes, and spends a lot of time looking at the lives and activities of the bad guys. "Sam's Bunker A.K.A. The Rabbit Hole" (3 minutes) is a 10-part CG-animated walk-through of the hidden lair where Brian is able to regroup. "Taken to L.A." (4 minutes) offers comments from Megaton and the cast where we hear about the making of the movie, and we learn that Taken 3 was shot all over the world, although the entire story takes place in L.A., and that it was shot on film. We also get to go on-location to see a specific scene being done. "A Taken Legacy" (5 minutes) is simply an overview of the series, as Megaton, Neeson, and Grace discuss the characters and the themes of the films. The extras are rounded out by a still gallery and a THEATRICAL TRAILER.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long