Taken 3 (2014)

(Netflix Streaming, November 2015) It may be time to sit down with Liam Neeson for an intervention.  For all of the money he must be making in doing these action thrillers at an age where most actors are trying to slow down, it’s not movies like Taken 3 that will make up his end-of-career highlights reel.  Duller and clunkier than most action thrillers, Taken 3 stays near Los Angeles in depicting a third family crisis for Neeson’s protagonist.  This time, though, the film dares to kill a returning character and the protagonist’s fury seems curiously tame compared to the first two films.  But then again, he’s being followed by criminals and the police.  Less xenophobic but far less interesting, Taken 3 struggles with the bare essentials of its genre: the action sequences are badly directed by Olivier Megaton, with choppy editing, incoherent sense of space and uncontrolled dramatic progression.  Taken 3 is lazy filmmaking at best, almost uninterested in its own story on the way to delivering another film in the series.  It doesn’t do much, wastes the dramatic potential of a death in the family and feels rote even at the best of times.  Neeson is far better than the material, and he’s the sole reason why this wasn’t a straight-to-video release.  What’s more damaging, though, is that he’s getting to be, well, a bit boring in these action roles.  Next to the underwhelming Run all Night and A Walk Among the Tombstones, we’re far from the dramatic heft of The Gray, or the bonkers action of Non-Stop or The A-Team.  I hope he starts picking better projects soon.

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