Neeson is even more brutal in ‘Taken 3’

Photo courtesy of geeknation.com Liam Neeson stars in the third installment of the “Taken” franchise. The film was released in theaters Jan. 9.
Photo courtesy of geeknation.com Liam Neeson stars in the third installment of the “Taken” franchise. The film was released in theaters Jan. 9.

Photo courtesy of geeknation.com
Liam Neeson stars in the third installment of the “Taken” franchise. The film was released in theaters Jan. 9.

For the last several years, one name has become synonymous with action hero: Liam Neeson. After giving the most hardcore and righteous threat in cinema history, he is back again in “Taken 3.”

First, he had to save his daughter from Albanian kidnappers, then he had to protect both his daughter and his ex-wife from certain retaliation in Istanbul. Now Bryan Mills faces his biggest challenge ever.

After his attempt at friendship with his ex-wife, Lenore, is cut short when she is brutally murdered, Bryan finds himself on the run as the prime suspect. Angry and confused, Bryan must evade the police, the FBI and even the CIA as he tracks down the real killers. No matter what it takes, the only thing that matters to him now is that the last person he loves, his daughter, is safe.

The film stars Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Sam Spruell and Dougray Scott. It is directed by Oliver Megaton.

When watching these kinds of movies you really have to admire Neeson’s physicality, especially for his age. The fight choreography looks like a chaotic dance, and Neeson is totally believable as the man on a mission from hell. You would think that these movies would lose their flavor over time, but they haven’t. A lot of that is because of Neeson’s standing as a great dramatic actor.

In this film, we see a more emotional side of the character of Bryan Mills, most notably when he is dealing with the death of the woman he loved. Only a talented dramatist like Neeson could give us a full range of emotion like this.

If there were any person that could be chosen to play opposite Neeson in a manhunt, Whitaker would be my first choice. I’m not sure if he could take Neeson in a fight, but mentally he is just as dangerous. Whitaker gives a good and fresh take on a tiresome investigator role. He shows bits of humanity through his mannerisms and actions.

Grace and Neeson have one of those connections, which you can tell has been honed and smoothed over the years into a believable father-daughter duo. Getting in the action in the last film, Grace takes a step back by being more of a moral center for Neeson’s character. Being a noted beauty, it would be nice to see her do more leading roles instead of supporting, but she is still wonderful in this film.

Is this movie going to make you want to see it over and over again? Not likely. It’s a shoot ‘em up action thriller in which the villains are way too easily taken down for their supposed skills and training, which makes you wonder if the bad guys will ever learn or if Neeson will always be invincible.

Either way, it is important to have that mindset in check when you go see a film like this, especially around awards season. This is just an action movie, nothing more.

However, despite the second film being somewhat similar to the first, this film is more edgy and shakes things up a bit for the better. It’s a good movie to watch to get out of the cold weather.

Story by John Gruccio, Contributing writer