Cinematic Releases: Taken 3

Liam Neeson and his special set of skills are back in theaters this week.

"You have no idea what's about to happen
to this panda. Booze and stuffies
do not mix."
And this time he continues to bury his one time illustrious career further into a pit of mediocrity so deep, he may never dig himself out again.

Taken 3 is just another terrible retread of the first two entries in the franchise but borrows heavily from The Fugitive and numerous other "innocent man on the run" movies of the last fifty years. The only things missing here are Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, and a creepy one armed man. In fact, there are scenes so brutally similar to the aforementioned Fugitive movie of the '90s, that audiences will be shaking their heads at the near plagiarism that Taken 3 expects us to swallow.

If anything, Taken 3 will teach moviegoers numerous life lessons. First off, anyone with a foreign accent is evil. Cops are really dumb. Forest Whitaker must really need a paycheck. Dougray Scott can't act. And poor, poor Liam Neeson has sadly lost all respect for himself and the successful dramatic career he built on movies like Schindler's List. It's easy to see that they tried to break away from the kidnapping themes of the first two films, but slowly and surely, Taken 3 careens right back into another repetitious series of death defying stunts, chase scenes, and unbelievably bad direction on the part of that horrific hack named Olivier Megaton. 

"Have you seen this cute girl?
She's been TAKEN!!!!.....
Bahhahaha. Couldn't help myself.
Now seriously."
Truthfully, audiences will be hoping that "it ends here" because there is nowhere left to go with a franchise that began and ended with its first entry. How many times will we pay to see the same characters go through action filled crisis after action filled crisis before studios and audiences figure out that Luc Besson has lost his mind and can't write his way out of a paper bag? How many more times are we going to fall for the same old sack of tricks while an unfortunately typecast Neeson survives a close proximity gun fight against a dozen heavily armed men and remains totally unscathed? And please tell me, how much longer are we going to believe that a 32 year old Maggie Grace is just an innocent college freshman that hasn't learned that it's not safe to hang out around her dad? 

You can take Taken 3 as escapist fun or you can accept it as absurdist action by a studio that will continue cashing in on this brain dead franchise. That's your choice.  I walked away from this movie wondering why every plot point had to be explained to me over and over again by Forest Whitaker, Liam Neeson, and the hapless tattooed foreign bad guys. In a movie this insultingly stupid, it's rather brazen to think your audience is too dumb to put two and two together and see the glaringly obvious plot twists that are coming. Someone must have been reading Action Films for Dummies before scripting this horrendous pile of garbage. 

Someone bring me a bottle of champagne and a stuffed panda. I'm gonna need it.