Taken 3 has endured quite the beating from critics, with the vast majority of film reviewers agreeing that with this latest installment, the Taken franchise has more than outstayed its welcome. Not that studio heads are bound to care too much, though, as the EuroCorp action/thriller grossed nearly $92 million worldwide against a $48 million budget, just after its opening weekend in the U.S. market.
As such, we have to ask the question… will Liam Neeson play Bryan Mills once again, in Taken 4? The Taken 3 tagline (“It Ends Here”) would seem to indicate that’s a bad idea… but on the other hand it’s not as though the idea of Taken becoming a franchise in the first place really ever seemed like a great one. Of course, there are alternative routes for the studio to take in order to keep the Taken brand alive and well, besides another sequel with Neeson.
Neeson and his Taken 3 costar Forest Whitaker were interviewed by Fox to promote their film, during the course of which Neeson was (unsurprisingly) asked it there is “room” for more Taken films in the future. Taken franchise co-writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, of course, are used to sequel-izing action film properties by now, but even they seem inclined to tap out after three installments of Taken.
Nevertheless, as Neeson noted, Taken 4 is a real possibility for the time being:
“There’s always… I think if audiences go and see it and they like these characters, I mean, I’d love to do something with Forest again, and if it’s in a ‘Taken’ 4 scenario… great.”
Besson is currently in the process of rebooting the Transporter property on the big screen (with the upcoming The Transporter Legacy) so who knows, he could end up rebooting Taken also, should it come to that (as ill-advised as that sounds). Another possibility, now that Taken 3 has proven to be lucrative, is a prequel about Bryan Mills as a younger man, as Collider proposed to Taken 2 & 3 director Olivier Megaton (see the video interview below, starting at the 12: 36 mark).
Megaton, in the above interview, admits that “I don’t really know how they could make [another ‘Taken’ movie],” after Taken 3, since it’s meant to be the last one. Truth be told, though, the third Taken film doesn’t exactly bring the trilogy to a definite point of conclusion, thematically-speaking; which is to say, that “It Ends Here” tagline ended up being a pretty empty promise. (Big shock, right?)
Taken 3 had the potential to round out a satisfying three-film arc for Neeson as Bryan Mills, but that didn’t happen (in this writer’s opinion, anyway). Taken 3 instead played out more like just another sequel, rather than a “last” chapter in a larger saga, so making Taken 4 feels as much like a stretch as… well, making Taken 3 did.
On the other hand, there are certainly moviegoers who would enjoy it if the franchise continued to go the way of the James Bond series and have its protagonist remain constant, even as the world around him (as reflected through the life of his daughter) continues to change. So, if Taken 4 does indeed happen, there should be an audience for it; a diminished one perhaps (after the last two installments failed to impress), but a paying crowd all the same.
How about it: do you want the Taken franchise to live on in some form (be it another sequel, reboot, or prequel)?