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‘Taken 3’ Reviews: Liam Neeson Franchise Ends with a Whimper

'Taken 3' Reviews: Liam Neeson Franchise Ends with a Whimper

Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills, but it’s starting to get pretty boring watching him using only a couple of them. Reviews for “Taken 3” from its UK screening have published, and while some are mildly complimentary, most have cited franchise fatigue, saying that it’s no longer surprising or exciting to watch Liam Neeson punch people after we’ve seen it before in better movies (“Taken,” “The Grey,” “A Walk Among the Tombstones”). “Taken 3” also has a more complicated plot than its predecessors, involving Neeson being framed for the murder of his wife, but some critics have said that this only makes the film slower than its predecessors, forcing viewers to contemplate how ludicrous it is. Neeson’s role in Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” can’t come soon enough.

“Taken 3” hits theaters January 9.

Mark Adams, Screen International

Neeson’s gnarly charisma is the film’s big-selling point, and while this time round it does feel rather by-the-numbers there is a clear and willing audience out there who want to see Mills make use of his unique skill set. Read more.

Tom Clift, Concrete Playground

Yet despite this being Megaton’s fifth time behind the wheel of a shoot-‘em-up actioner, his execution of the film’s chase and shootout sequences can only be described as incompetent. Flailing handheld camerawork, frantic over-editing and claustrophobic close-ups make it basically impossible to distinguish Miles from his enemies, or to decipher the geography of a given scene. Read more.

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

This is all a far cry from the original “Taken” film, the sheepish fun of which lay in seeing Neeson’s primal, fatherly rage being shaken out of retirement. Back then he was still Aslan, Kinsey, Rob Roy, Oskar Schindler, and the violence – visceral and transgressive, rather than the bloodless, 12A-rated shoot-‘em-up stuff here – felt like the eruption of a long-dormant volcano. Now it’s just Liam Neeson hitting people again. What a tragedy that’s become boring. Read more.

Tom Huddlestone, Time Out London

“Taken 3” scores over its predecessor on almost every level: the stakes are higher, the LA locations are nicely photographed and, best of all, there’s an actual plot, with twists and everything. The characters feel more rounded too. Neeson is still going through the motions, but he’s backed up by a solid crew of returning regulars and newcomers including Forest Whitaker as a likeably crumpled cop. Read more.

Maggie Lee, Variety

Running out of kidnapped relatives for Liam Neeson’s ex-CIA killing machine to rescue, scribes Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen turn him into a fugitive framed for murder in “Taken 3,” a mind-numbing, crash-bang misfire that abandons chic European capitals for the character’s own backyard. French director Olivier Megaton, who at least paced “Taken 2″ with workmanlike efficiency, executes the pedestrian plot without a shred of tension or finesse. Opening in Hong Kong on New Year’s Day, a week ahead of its U.S. bow, the Fox release will draw crowds simply because it’s supposedly the last installment of the lucrative franchise, but they’ll just be hostages to tedium. Read more.

Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter

Those expecting Mills to tear around town like he did in Paris and Istanbul in the first two films will be disappointed — apart from minor pyrotechnics in some buildings and a pile-up on the 710, Los Angeles is spared excessive mayhem. That’s because the flow of the action is repeatedly interrupted by Mills’ needless clandestine meet-ups with Kim and by sequences of Detective Franck Dotzler (Whitaker) either pondering the alleged murder while eating bagels or ordering around his underlings. These digressions deflate the tension that kept the first two “Taken” installments afloat as pieces of relentless high-octane spectacle; with Mills no longer dashing around as much, the viewer has more time to be bothered by the implausibility and illogic of the narrative. Read more.

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