Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace
M (violence, offensive language)
It's time to wrap up this franchise.
The success of the first Taken was based on Liam Neeson's infamous phone call and his "unique set of skills" that made him an action hero in his mid-50s. It was always going to be tricky for sequels to improve on this, and although Neeson throws himself into the action in this third and final film of the trilogy, he and the franchise that revived his career are looking a little slow and tired.
The approach is much the same as in previous films, but instead of another excursion to Europe, the setting has moved to Los Angeles, the hometown of Neeson's former CIA agent Bryan Mills.
Mills is set up for the murder of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and becomes the hunted.
Not an original or particularly complicated narrative, but one which is often explained throughout the film, as if after each action sequence everyone needs to remind themselves what happened and why.
All the mandatory action film components are here; the car chases are exhilarating, the combat scenes are shot with jarring hand-held camera work that takes you into the action. It's violent, but no more so than the previous films, and Mills still seems to get particularly worked up when he encounters Russians.
As he searches for his wife's killer and tries to protect his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), Mills is more prone to reflective moments this time, though these pauses among the action slow the pace.
Forest Whitaker is a nice addition to the cast and, as the only competent cop on the force and the only supporting cast, able to match Neeson's presence on screen.
But it's Neeson that franchise fans will come back for.
And although his lethally protective father routine has run its course, it's been fun watching the old bloke make the most of it.
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