Taken 3 - Blu-ray Review

'If nothing else, this is certainly more fun than the dour and overly serious first sequel'.

Going into Taken 3 expecting anything other than Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) once again using his now infamous "particular set of skills" to take out a large number of bad guys is like going into Poundland and expecting Selfridges. The Taken series has twice delivered competent action fare that you can easily switch your brain off to, and this third film is no different. An early scene in which Bryan has a conversation with daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) about trying to be less predictable almost feels like a tongue-in-cheek nod to the fact that everyone watching knows how the next two hours or so are almost certainly going to play out.

There are criticisms that can easily be levelled at Olivier Megaton's second outing of the franchise, and they are largely the flaws that can be seen in both his previous effort, Taken 2, and the original film. The opening chapter in which Bryan's relationship with both Kim and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) is established feels decidedly sluggish. There is also a definite dip during the second act where Bryan seems to wander around looking moody without a great deal of focus on his actual goal, which this time is to find Lenore's murderer after being framed for the crime himself. The plot at times ties itself into a few too many knots, and there are also definite leaps to be made in order for everything to fit together as Megaton would like it to.

And yet Taken 3 still manages to provide plenty of entertainment and have the plot keep you guessing for a satisfyingly hefty chunk of its running time. Whilst the story here clearly takes its starting point from 1993's The Fugitive, it manages to channel itself down a commendably different route from there. Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) is clearly inspired by Tommy Lee Jones' iconic Sam Gerard from the earlier film; whilst Dotzler is never as well-drawn as Gerard - and Whitaker never as captivating as Jones - there are sparks of creativity and idiosyncrasy within Whitaker's portrayal that develop the inspector enough to make him more than a stock character. It's a shame that Dotzler ends up largely sidelined for the film's final act, and that Taken 3's other police officers are invariably arrogant, idiotic or both.

The action sequences are solid if unremarkable, with a set piece involving a Porsche and private jet near the end providing the highlight. Ultimately, despite some slightly more noticeable editing that tries to hide Neeson's aversion to running, the star delivers in the same way as he has since the first Taken, which is essentially what the majority of the audience will have paid to see anyway. Go into Taken 3 with your expectations firmly locked into Hollywood Action mode and you'll likely find plenty here to entertain whilst never troubling your grey matter. If nothing else, this is certainly more fun than the dour and overly serious first sequel in the Taken franchise.

Taken 3 is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 15th June 2015.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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