2015 should be a big year for movies, and kicking off the parade is the latest (last?) installment in the Liam Neeson/Luc Besson action franchise, Taken. With Taken 3, however, the game has changed; and now, Neeson's ex-government operative Bryan Mills is a fugitive on the run, after being framed for the murder of someone close to him. And yes, there is something ironic about Mills being wrongly accused of killing someone, considering how many people he took out in previous Taken movies alone.
The trailer and newly-released Taken 3 featurette (see above) have already "spoiled" whose death is blamed on Mills, though given there were only two real options - his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace) - and only one would've made sense, in terms of the over-arching themes of the Taken franchise, it wasn't exactly a secret worth keeping under wraps. What remains a mystery, though, is who from Mills' past is responsible for attempting to destroy his life.
The Taken series, as written by Besson (who's also a producer on the franchise) and Robert Mark Kamen, has continuously evolved Neeson as the Mills character over the course of two installments thus far (... though, that might not be obvious at a passing glance). And now, the implied thematic arc for Taken 3 - where Nesson's character must face the consequences of his past once and for all - is actually is line with where we expected this film to go, building on the events of Taken 2. Meaning, this movie does have potential to serve as a proper conclusion to the Taken trilogy.
Taken 2 helmsman Olivier Megaton is back as director for part 3, which probably won't be encouraging news for those who weren't fans of his direction on the last Taken installment. On the other hand, the quality of action filmmaking in the initial footage already seems a bit better than that from Megaton's past efforts. And with a cat vs. mouse chase between Neeson and Forest Whitaker's federal agent to anchor the movie (as Mills takes on the FBI, CIA, and LAPD), Taken 3 already looks more promising than its predecessor.
If it's a bust then no worries, 2015 will just be getting (slowly) warmed up...
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Taken 3 opens in U.S. theaters on January 9th, 2015.