Liam Neeson didn’t kill his wife. Forest Whitaker doesn’t care.
Taken 3 follows Liam Neeson as he searches for the man who killed his wife while trying to avoid the cops who think he killed her. Does it round out the franchise or shoot it in the foot? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this film? Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, and Maggie Grace return as Bryan Mills, his ex-wife Lenore (briefly), and his daughter Kim. Forest Whitaker of Platoon and Lee Daniels’ The Butler plays Mills’ nemesis, lawman Franck Dotzler. The film is directed by Olivier Megaton, which might explain the film’s explosive nature. He returns to the franchise after directing Taken 2, so expect the tone and style of that movie to return as well.
The trailer opens with Lenore dropping in to see Liam Neeson. They talk about their daughter, Kim, who for once is not getting kidnapped, and they drink wine together. It seems as though the romance between them is starting to blossom again, which means something horrible is about to happen to Lenore.
Sure enough, Liam Neeson brings her takeout and finds a bloody knife on the floor. “Lenny?” he calls out. Lenny, you’ve got to stop leaving your bloody knives all over the place. Turns out she’s been murdered, and the cops show up, assuming he killed her. But as they start to arrest him for suspicion of murder, he beats them up and jumps out a window. Because that’s what innocent people do, right?
As a manhunt comes together to shoot at Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker tells us a bit about his background. “At 21, he joins the army. At 23, he joins the Special Forces. He’s a trained sniper, an explosives expert.” A Jedi, the leader of the League of Shadows, a Greek God, and a supernatural lion stand-in for Jesus. “No service record, no discharge record, nothing,” Whitaker goes on. “This guy right here, he knows how to disappear.” Now if he could just teach that skill to Michael Bay.
Liam Neeson drops into the sewer, probably to reenact that scene at the dam from The Fugitive (like every scene so far in this trailer). “Something terrible has happened to your mom,” he tells Kim. She’s been roped into making this movie. “Don’t trust anyone,” he tells her. Especially not the cops. They’re never the good guys in these kinds of movies, at least until the last ten minutes. Sure enough, there’s a guy in a black car following her. Turns out he only wanted to tell her the trunk of her car was open.
As Kim attends the obligatory interchangeable funeral scene, Liam Neeson says, “There are things I’ve done in my life, and I was always ready to face the consequences to protect my family.” Considering one family member is dead, I’d say you’re doing a lousy job of it. He beats up some people in a convenience store, presumably because they looked vaguely European, and a guy on the phone tells him “Everyone you love will soon be dead.” Since that’s only one other person, that’s not too hard a job. Just to emphasize his point, the phone guy blows up a car. Was there anyone in it? Who cares? The trailer needed another explosion.
“My job is to bring you in,” says Dotzler. “My first priority is to protect the only one I have left,” Liam Neeson replies. Ever hear of protective custody? I feel like that would be a really good idea right now. Instead, Liam Neeson beats people up with a defibrillator because using his fists was getting old. “I’m going to finish this,” he tells his daughter. Unless this movie turns a large enough profit, in which case I’ll be back for a fourth film.
As Liam Neeson does cool stuff including throwing bombs, chasing planes, and flipping cars, Dotzler tells him, “If you go down this road, the LAPD, the FBI, the CIA, they’re all gonna come for you. They’ll find you, and they’ll stop you.” “Good luck,” says Liam Neeson. Yeah, no joke here. That was legitimately a good twist on the franchise’s most iconic moment, and definitely the best part of the trailer.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend this movie? Sort of. It’s Liam Neeson in an action movie; when is that not fun to watch? On the other hand, we’ve seen just about everything we can see from this franchise, and this really does feel as though it’s ripping off The Fugitive. It’s an interesting premise, but I’m worried it won’t be original enough to deliver. If you’re a big Liam Neeson fan, you’ll want to check this out. Everyone else? Probably not. I’ll be skipping this one altogether myself.
As long as Liam Neeson doesn’t find me. And kill me.
Taken 3 is owned by 20th Century Fox.