Out of them all, I chose Taken 3. Also, it was a date night with the girlfriend.
Sometimes you just need a break from all the Oscar contenders you sit and embrace, gush over and debate to which should nail the golden statue.
Taken 3 did just that for me. I will not lie to you that I felt when I saw Taken 2, it felt like the filmmakers were patronizing the audience with its idiotic villains, the script that made Kim into a badass and how it was a bad idea to continue the Albanian saga with the father seeking revenge on Bryan Mills.
Liam Neeson is back as Mills, the retired government operative with a "particular set of skills" and but it is his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen) whose life is taken and is framed for her murder . In the vein of a poor man's version of The Fugitive, Mills goes on the run while every law enforcement agency in Los Angeles will not rest until they catch Mills and at the same time, Mills tries to track down the real culpuit while protecting his daughter, Kim (ageless Maggie Grace).
This time around, I feel that the script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen actually knew what they were doing. They weren't trying to make art but a ridiculous action yarn chocked full of inventive twists and turns. Yes, I understand that the script has an identity crisis with its dialogue and the actions performed especially with detective Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker enjoying his time and a paycheck) who is carrying a chess piece and playing with a rubber band.
I get it! He is supposed to be smart...and he likes bagels.
Oh, don't worry. We will get to the bagels.
Neeson delivers his gruff badassery once again and gives the film a bit of gravitas even to the point where I accepted his newfound superhuman ability to survive numerous car crashes, explosions and still delivers the hand to hand combat effortlessly. He is the true reason to drop some money down. Especially when Stuart (Dougray Scott, struggling with masking his Scottish accent) appears. Not good.
Olivier Megaton is back in the director's chair and this time around. He tightens up on the action sequences and goes kitchen sink on us throwing in tons of well-choreographed car chases. It actually feels like when the action is on, the movie is entertaining. However, he still suffers from bringing a consistent tone and in love with dizzying camera shots and using different shades of cinematography. At least it didn't have me racing for the Dramamine like the ending of Alex Cross did.
Ugh. Bad memories.
Before we end this, I actually like the twists and turns in the final half hour. They kept coming at me like a pez dispenser and dismissed it for some ridiculous fun.
Now let's get to the bagels.
I was shocked by the importance that these high-carb wheels of bread had to do with the movie. To the point, I had to ask my girlfriend about them. When she explained, all I could do is laugh in disbelief. However, this is what I expect from the imaginative Besson and his brand of cheap action.
Taken 3 is a blender movie that throws in dashes of better action films mixed in with creative twists that make me buy into this fire sale of action thrown at the screen. If you think way too much or not interested in the characters then you will trash it. If you actually shut your brain off and enjoy. You get a satisfying ending to one of the most insanely fun franchises.