TAKEN 3. Starring Liam Neeson, Forrest Whitaker, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Dougray Scott, Andrew Howard.Directed by Olivier Megatron. 109 minutes. Rated M (Violence and coarse language).
Who would have thought there would be three Taken films? In the first, Bryan Mills, a solid and sympathetic Liam Neeson, finds that his daughter is kidnapped in Paris and that he has to find her, s drawing on his skills in detection and combat action in his past Secret Service, before she is sold into sexual slavery. Plenty of action, much of it violent, created by French writer-director, Luke Besson and directed by Pierre Morell.
Besson and writer Robert Mark Kamen got together with director, Olivier Megatron (a distracting thought is that his name sounds as if it is one of the Transformers) for a sequel, Taken 2, This time Mills’ wife, Famke Janssen, was kidnapped. Much the same plot except for some spectacular location photography in Istanbul and throughout Turkey.
Again Besson, Kamen and Megatron combined for this sequel. Since Mills had only one daughter, who could be taken in the third film? Apparently Liam Neeson did not want an abduction this time, so there is not. Rather, there is a murder, and the whole action is set in Los Angeles. Brian Mills goes through the same anguish as he did in the other films, relentlessly seeking out the murderer, which brings in subplots of arms deals, business companies and blackmail, loan sharks and violent demands for repayment, the Russian Mafia. Mills is deceived a couple of times, being set up not only for the murder, but for the hunting down of the Russian criminals.
This time the Los Angeles Police are a bit slow, going by the book, being fairly certain that Mills is the suspect that they are after, concentrating on him rather than the subplots which, eventually, they have to do. It is Forrest Whitaker who plays the main police chief.
Mills wife, Famke Janssen, has married again, to businessman, Stuart (Dougray Scott), who is not very happy about her keeping contact with her former husband, and Mills fostering that contact. In the meantime, Mills’s daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), is pregnant but is wary of telling her father. Needless to say, the Mafia thugs are after as well.
There are some twists in the plot – which may make us not so alert to some of the improbabilities and holes in the plot. Nevertheless, this is an action show, detection show – and the last in the series.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Released 8th January 2015.