Taken 3 (or, "Liam Neeson With a Gun Pt. 7") continues to cash-in on the unlikely success of Liam Neeson as an action movie badass with a third installment that will - like The Hangover 3 before it - provide a welcome change of formula from the original film and its carbon-copy sequel.
This time around, we know that Bryan Mills (Neeson) will be on the run after being framed for the murder of his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). That frame job also puts him in the crosshairs of the crooks who did the dirty deed - crooks who seemingly want to dismantle Mills' life piece by piece - person by person. Luckily, Bryan Mills has a particular set of skills to help him get out of trouble.
Taken 2 director Oliver Megaton is back to helm the third installment. That will not bode well in the minds of most fans (who prefer Pierre Morel's superior first installment), but this trailer should be sufficient to ignite the Taken core fan base, who show up to see Liam Neeson kick ass and take names. This trailer certainly hints at plenty of that in the threequel.
As for those who have never really been turned onto this franchise? The addition of acting talent like Forest Whitaker as a more complex antagonist (or frienemy, most likely) probably won't be enough to get them onboard. However, by a third installment, the studio and filmmakers probably aren't looking to follow in the missteps of something like Expendables 3 (trying to sucker in a new and younger crowd); they'll probably stick to the particular set of money-making skills this franchise has developed.
PS: That's a nice touch at the end of the trailer, having Whitaker and Neeson in reversed positions on the phone. In the first film, it was Mills laying down calm but ominous logic to a skeptic listener; let's hope Bryan's skepticism is well-founded when Dotzler (Whitaker) comes looking for him.
Taken 3 (Tak3n) will be in theaters on January 9, 2015.