HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:81
How many people thought that “Taken” would spawn 2 sequels, turning itself into a franchise? I certainly didn’t. When “Taken” came out it was one of the most refreshing action movies of the decade, as it gave us hard hitting action with a sense of brutality that that left us shocked with the PG-13 rating. Then four years later we see the same thing yet again, but instead of his daughter Kim kidnapped, his ex-wife Leonore is. Rinse and repeat. With the amount of money made it was pretty obvious that ANOTHER sequel was planned, but what else does Bryan Mills have left to be taken? His dog? His cat? His daughter’s boyfriend’s second cousin twice removed? Interestingly enough Olivier Megaton decided to take the movie in a completely new direction plot wise, yet still keep the same general premise, e.g. Liam Neeson wreaking havoc on dozens of bad guys with a scowl on his face and a pistol in his hand.
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is back from Turkey after teaching those pesky Europeans that NO ONE in Europe is safe from Liam Neeson yet again. He’s still keeping his overly protective watch on Kim (Maggie Grace), probably the oldest high school student in the history of the planet, and trying to cultivate a relationship with his ex-wife, Leonore (Famke Jannssen). Leonore is still on the out and out with her now husband, Stuart (this time played by Dougray Scott), and the two old flames still have that spark. Not wanting to make a move while Leonore is still married, Bryan backs off a little, but still can’t separate his life from his daughters’ and ex’s. This may end up being his downfall as Leonore is brutally murdered in his apartment at the hands of a disgruntled European drug lord who is looking for payback. Framed for her murder, Bryan is forced to go underground and figure out just who has it out for him this time and why his family is targeted once more.
Hot on his trail is Frank Dotzler (Forest Whitaker), a police detective who will stop at nothing to bring in the man he thinks murdered Lenore. Now Bryan has to figure out who is doing this, while keeping Kim safe and exacting his revenge on the perpetrators. Stuart, while in the background during the first few movies, is now front and center as it seems his business deals have finally come home to roost and cause our hero to break out those very special set of skills that he possesses which makes him a nightmare for Europeans (seriously, Europeans can’t catch a break in this franchise).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43474[/img]“Tak3n” suffers from a case of sequelitis. The first movie was revolutionary, with the second being a step down. The third isn’t really any worse than “Taken 2”, but at this point in the franchise it’s just retreading old ground. We all know the outcome. Bryan is ticked off and has to mow through fields of bad guys to protect his family and the body count will be enormous while he kicks, punches, pistol whips and shoots anyone who opposes him (except cops it seems). The brutality of the first and second movie is toned down just a tad as Bryan is now dodging L.A. cops who want to take him in for his supposed murder of Lenore, so he has to tone it down again… that is if he wants them to take him as innocent later in the movie. Still, the action is fun and I can’t get enough of Liam Neeson as the atypical action hero. That hulking 6 foot 4 inch frame and crooked boxers nose mixed with his deep voice and melancholy eyes is something that audiences should have gotten YEARS ago, before Liam was passed his physical prime.
Director Olivier Megaton’s style is a bit pedestrian, much in the same way “Transporter 3” differed so much from the previous two movies. The action is choppy and full of quick cuts and the chase scenes just aren’t wildly engaging. They’re certainly fun, but they tend to feel like we’ve seen them a million times. However, some of the action sequences used a myriad of quick edits due to the fact that Liam Neeson’s aging body just can’t take a lot of the quick movements required to make Bryan seem as kick butt as he is. They mentioned this in the making of “Taken 2” and “Taken 3” certainly follows in the same footsteps. Forest Whitaker feels a bit wasted in his role as Dotzler, and while he’s certainly engaging sometimes, you can tell that Whitaker was phoning in the role.
On the other hand, I really did like the switch in direction from the previous two movies. Instead of having someone else get taken and have Bryan tearing through Europe looking for them, we have a situation where HE is the hunted one, and basically has his life taken from HIM, instead of someone else. It’s more of a “The Fugitive” feel, rather than a “Taken” feel, which helped the movie significantly. That along with a change of pace of villains. The way they ended “Taken 2” made it seem like we were going to see more of Murad and his songs trying to track down Bryan once more, but they chose all new villains to take over and even gave us a few surprises in that department along the way. It’s not going to blow the doors off the action genre, but “Tak3n” is still a surprisingly agile action movie that will put a grin on your face as Liam Neeson rampages around like Godzilla.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43482[/img]“Tak3n” sports an incredible looking 1080p encode with plenty of pop and pizazz. The color grading is infused with a yellow filter once more, giving the film a warm and very “Luc Besson” texture, and still showcasing plenty of detail. Fine detail is abundant with every stich and fiber on clothing showing through along with beautiful rendering on the furnishings and the cars. Black levels are strong throughout the movie and don’t seem to show any signs of crush or washing out. Shot on 35 mm film, “Tak3n” has that rough and gritty feel that the previous two films shared and while it has a nice layer of film grain, the movie never feels like its obscuring detail with too much grain. DNR and other digital manipulation techniques appear to be left out of the picture and the high bitrate gives plenty of room for a solid presentation free of digital artifacting. Overall an excellent looking image that will surely please fans of the action franchise.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43490[/img]The “Taken” series has always benefited from great action oriented tracks and the third film in the trio is no different. Bombastic and action filled it blasts its way onto home video with an amazing sounding 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that will make you feel every blow and want to dodge the sound of each incoming bullet. Dialog is clean and clear, without any distortion or imbalance amongst the effects. Dynamic range is wide without being overly wide and the balance between all channels is impeccable. I never once had to adjust the volume for something being too loud or too quiet compared to the rest of the track. Surrounds are used quite well, with lots of bullets plinking and whizzing around every corner and the car chase scenes filling out the sonic experience beautifully. LFE is nice, giving lots of impact to the bone jarring blows and adding serious weight to the gun fights, but surprisingly feels as if there was something left on the table. With the amount of gunfire and fisticuffs going on I would have expected that brutal weight to the shots and that jarring thud to the blows, but it’s surprisingly soft comparatively. Don’t get me wrong, the weight is there and the LFE channel is firing up constantly, but it doesn’t feel AS heavy as other action tracks in the same field.
• Deleted Scenes
• Unrated Cut
• Sam's Bunker AKA "The Rabbit Hole"
• Taken in L.A.
• A "Taken" Legacy
“Tak3n” is definitely the least enjoyable of the trilogy, but the movie itself is still a surprisingly decent action movie. It’s not going to rival the first one for the shock and awe it brought on the action community, but everyone loves Liam Neeson running around with a scowl on his face and blowing things up while threatening to make life miserable for all the villains in that gravelly voice. It’s a little different than the first two movies and that’s a plus, and with the great audio and video scores will make a very fun rental when you want to see bad guys get mowed while you stuff your face with popcorn.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Dougray Scott, Forest Whitaker
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Written by: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 108 Minutes / 115 Minutes Unrated
Blu-ray Release Date: April 21st 2015
Buy Tak3n On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Rental
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