Oh my God this movie. Okay, the first Taken I adore. One of my favourite action movies. The second Taken is shit. This? This is just.... comically bad. Stupidly, hilariously, infuriatingly bad. Really, I don't think a quick REVIEW summary is going to do this justice. I'm going to have to take this apart scene by scene. Because this movie is just so so bad, it deserves something a bit special.
Okay, we open with an accountant being kidnapped from his home by thugs led by a guy who looks like a discount Jason Statham. He takes Accountant to their boss who is your basic generic Russian mobster except with a stupid-looking haircut. Generic Russian Mobster #461 has Accountant open a safe belonging to Accountant's boss, which is empty. This angers Generic Russian Mobster #461 so decides to leave a message for Accountant's boss by killing Accountant..... by shooting him in the leg. Seriously, he shoots him in the leg and Accountant just instantly drops dead. He definitely wasn't shooting high enough to hit him in the torso or head, so I assume it was the leg. But there's no blood whatsoever. For all I know, he missed or had the gun loaded with blanks and Accountant just dropped dead from shock. Or Accountant is just narcoleptic. Anyway, this scene has nearly nothing to do with the rest of the movie, Narcoleptic Accountant is never seen or heard from again and the entire thing was a waste of time...
We then get a looooooong opening credits sequence of nothing but overhead shots of a city at night. Just at the point where you're pondering whether you can open your wrists with a popcorn tub, the actual movies starts and we see Liam Neeson buying a giant panda for his now 20-something year old daughter, Kim, for her birthday. Or at least for 3 days before her birthday. Because apparently he decided to buy this stuff 3 days earlier because everyone feels he's 'too predictable' and he wanted to shake things up. By the way, that line about him being 'too predictable' gets repeated about 10 times in the first couple of scenes, then never returns except for a very brief moment halfway through the film. Anyway, Kim is pregnant! Oh my God! And she doesn't want to tell her father about it! And..... this subplot ultimately ends up being completely irrelevant in the end. Doesn't even end with her giving birth in the middle of a packed action scene. For shame.
Anyway, Liam Neeson gets a call from his ex-wife, Jean Grey. (Okay, she's called Lenny in the film, but it's difficult to take any emotional moment centred around a woman called Lenny seriously.) She's having relationship troubles with her current husband, Sleazebag- I mean, Rich Sleazebag- I mean.... Stuart.... and she wants to talk to her ex-husband about it. Can't see anything going wrong here. Anyway, she arrives, 2 minutes later she's telling him how she fantasises about the two of them being back together and 3 minutes later, they're kissing. Who'd a thunk it? Now, in case you're wondering how this film treats the fact that the two of them were previously in a relationship that didn't work out, the answer is 'It ignores it entirely'. Seriously, the way these two talk in this scene, you'd never guessed that they were ever divorced or even previously dated. Also, I should note that this is the only scene Jean Grey is actually alive in. Seriously, she's dead the next time we see her. I think she gets more screentime in this movie as a corpse than as a living person.
I'm just going to leave this here.
The next night, Liam Neeson receives a visit from her boyfriend Stuart who does his utmost to present to you that he's a sleazebag and obviously going to be in some way responsible for Jean Grey's death. Seriously, had he walked in with flashing neon lights surrounding him saying 'I'm a Villain!' it would be a less subtle. Anyway, he basically asks Liam to stay away from his ex-wife (in a totally not villainous way) while they sort out their issues. Rather than pointing out that that's Jean Grey's decision, Liam agrees without protest. Then again, basically the next day, Liam's perfectly happy to let Jean come over to his house. Without even mentioning the promise he made to Stu. Dick move, Neeson, dick movie.
Like I said, the next day Liam receives a text from Jean Grey asking if she can come over for bagels. Rather than telling her to go buy her own goddamn bagels, Liam goes out and picks some up. When he comes back ZOMG Jean Grey is dead! Apparently she was stabbed to death (judging by a knife Liam Neeson sees on the floor (and picks up like an idiot) being the murder weapon) but there's once again no blood whatsoever. And she's on a white sheet at this point. So apparently blood just doesn't exist in the Taken 3 universe.
Anyway, Liam Neeson escapes from the cops in one of the most obnoxiously edited action sequences I've ever seen and makes it into the sewers. To track him down, the police call in Tommy Lee Jones Forest Whittaker who proves his genius as a supercop by... eating one of the bagels Neeson left behind. Why? He fucking loves bagels, that's why. (Seriously though, isn't that supposed to be evidence?) Anyway, Forest Whittaker leads his super team of blandly forgettable cops in search of Liam Neeson whose first move is.... to break into the morque to look at Jean Grey's corpse and nothing else. Really showing that superspy training there, Liam. Also, ew.
Anyway, after admiring his ex-wife's dead naked body, Liam Neeson tracks her car's GPS and discovers she visited a gas station in the middle of nowhere for no reason. He goes to visit there and finds security cameras showing a bunch of thugs in a black van abducting Jean! Gasp! This surely proves his innocence right?! And the cops, who have also followed up on the GPS hint, follow him there and arrest him. But hey, they still have the tape proving his innocence, right? Well.... no. Pretty much everyone forgets about that tape. Seriously. Hell, we actually see Forest Whittaker watching it and.... nothing. Seriously, that tape basically proves Neeson's innocence and no-one ever brings it up again.
Anyway, since we've somehow stumbled into a bizarre alternate universe where clear cut video camera footage doesn't count as evidence, Liam must escape from the cop cars carrying him. And he does so in the middle of the freeway during what I can only assume was a 7.0 earthquake. Seriously, the camera shakes around so goddamn much, it's difficult to tell what's going on. But there's a lot of carnage and violent crashes and there is no way in hell at least one innocent person wasn't killed. Seriously, at one point a car gets smooshed by the most poorly secured truck cargo in the world. And nobody ever brings up that people obviously got killed by Neeson causing carnage here! He may have cleared his name of his wife's murder, but probably got at least 4/5 manslaughter charges he should be dealing with!
But that's not even the stupidest thing to come of this action scene. Neeson manages to push out both of the cops in the car he's driving and makes his getaway from the freeway. However, he's still being pursued by cop cars. He eventually gets cornered on a multi-story car park. And you are not going to believe this next bit. He drives his car backwards into an elevator shaft. For no reason, the car explodes (and takes a good chunk of the building with it. Seriously, unless the trunk was filled with C4, it should not have made an explosion that big.) Gasp! Is Liam Neeson dead?! Suddenly, Forrest Whittaker receives a phone from none other than Neeson. How did he survive? We.......... never find out. Seriously. They never tell us how he got out. We know he didn't jump out before it went into the elevator shaft because we see a shot of him moving in there. Apparently, Liam Neeson can now just teleport.
Anyway, rather than let the police think he's dead, Neeson phones up Whittaker because I don't even remember why. Next in his brilliant tactical plan to hunt down Jean's killer, Neeson.... decides to set up a plan so he can visit his daughter. Why? Literally no reason! And it's not even like that's an easy thing to do. She has police following her everywhere! They put a listening device in one of her jackets! (And I mean one of her jackets. We see them put it in there and it's just that one. They're kinda pushing their luck hoping she'll wear that exact jacket when Neeson tries to meet her. (Speaking of, I'm pretty sure bugging without her permission/a court order is illegal.)) Anyway, Neeson's plan is so batshit, I'm going to give it to you in its unadulterated form.
Basically, Neeson has one of his secret service buddies give her a message to 'keep being predictable'. Earlier in the movie, while they were talking about predictability, Kim mentions how she always buys a yoghurt drink in the morning from the same shop in the exact same place in the fridge. Neeson has planted a post-it note on that specific drink telling her to drink it immediately. She does so and leaves (and I don't think she pays either). Later, in class, Kim feels nauseous and goes to the bathroom where Neeson is waiting, bundles her into a stall and deactivates the listening device. Apparently, he had spiked that drink with something to make her feel nauseous so she would go to the bathroom and etc etc
Okay, 1) I'm pretty sure there are more than one girl's bathrooms on a college campus. Your entire plan would've been ruined if she went to one of them instead or just went home. 2) If there was anyone else in the bathroom at that time, you wouldn't have been able to bundle Kim into that stall and your entire plan would've been ruined again (hell, two girls walk in just a few minutes later). 3) Why couldn't he just have put a note telling her to visit that specific restroom rather than poisoning her? Which brings me to 4) YOU POISONED YOUR DAUGHTER YOU GODDAMN MANIAC!!!!!!
Anyway, Kim is surprisingly okay with being deliberately poisoned by her dad and tells Neeson that she's pregnant (because now seems like a good time). Like most of the pregnancy subplot, absolutely nothing comes of this. Meanwhile, Forest retraces Kim's steps, discovers Neeson's note by fishing around in the garbage (he even licks the yoghurt pot which I'd remind you was a) poisoned and b ) in the garbage, so ew) and realises Neeson's plot. He sends in the police but Neeson escapes them by detonating a bomb in a janitor's closet and sending the entire school into a panicked riot. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyway, a hint from Kim makes Neeson begin to suspect Stuart, the sleazy husband (who really should've been suspect No 1 for obvious reasons) and Neeson trails him along mountain roads to his Malibu safehouse. Suddenly, a black van, driven by discount Jason Statham and his thugs, comes out of nowhere and rams Neeson's car off the cliff! The car rolls and rolls and takes so much damage no-one inside could've possibly survived. And then it explodes for good measure. (And the explosion was ridiculously big again as well. Seriously, are cars in this world painted with nitro-glycerine?). So how did Neeson possibly survive that?! Apparently, he teleported out again, because he's fine in the next scene with absolutely no explanation. Seriously. They did it again. Okay, to be fair, in a later scene they show flashbacks of him diving out of the car as it's falling down the cliff and hiding from discount Jason Statham. but I'm going to call bullshit because we see the car going down the cliff and he obviously didn't! I can't believe I get to use this quote in the right context but, He didn't get out of the cockadoodie car!!!
Anyway, Neeson ambushes discount Jason Statham and his thugs at a liquor store (because when I'm a professional hitman, the first thing I do after a successful kill is get plastered) and kills them all, except DJS, who he holds at gunpoint. Rather than give up any information on his employer, DJS forces the gun into his mouth and pulls the trigger himself. And... rather than see his brains blown out, he just kinda gets a goofy look on his face and falls down dead. Remember, blood doesn't exist in this universe.
Anyway, Neeson arrives at Sleazy Stuart's manor, takes out his security and teleports next to Stuart. (No seriously, Stuart hears Neeson take out a guard, looks away for one second in the middle of a wide-open room, and next second Neeson is standing a pace away. I'm telling you, between Taken 2 and 3, Neeson joined the X-Men. Probably where he met Jean Grey.) He then knocks out Stuart and takes him to a warehouse to waterboard him. Oh and maybe ask some questions. Seriously, when Stuart wakes up, the first thing Neeson does is waterboard him. Only after that does he ask any questions. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be the other way round but hey, I'm not Liam Neeson. Hell, he doesn't even know Stu is definitely involved.
Anyway, slimey Stuart reveals he's been doing deals with Generic Russian Mobster #461 (remember him? All the way back in the intro?) But their last deal fell through and Stuart lost their money so GRM #461 had Jean Grey murdered. And then framed Liam Neeson..... despite having never met him before or having had any reason to want him out of the way. Rather than point out this gaping hole in Stuart's story, Neeson instantly believes Stu and figures that the Russians will go after Kim next. Rather than phone Forest or Kim and tell them to increase the police protection, Neeson enlists three of his secret service guys to pick her up assuming that she'll be safer in the hands of four guys rather than a dozen trained police officers.
Next, he has Stu set up a meeting with GRM #461 in the latter's office building. However, GRM has a special security elevator with cameras so only authorised people can use it. Neeson, Stu, Kim and one of Neeson's spy friends enter the building in a truck and use a complex computer thing to loop the footage of Stu in the elevator so Neeson can...... wait wait wait wait wait, Kim?
WHAT IN PLUPERFECT HELL IS KIM DOING THERE?!
Seriously, this the bad guy's fucking main lair! If Neeson's trying to keep his daughter safe why the hell did he bring her there?! And it's not even a 'We're short on manpower and we need you to do this important job' thing. She does literally nothing! Why he didn't leave her at his secure base? Or with the police? Or anywhere except here?!
Just going to leave this here
Anyway, after taking out two of the elevator guards with a defibrillator (I don't even know why). Neeson goes on one of his patented Neeson rampages and takes out GRM's stereotypical Russian mob guards before taking on GRM himself. GRM himself was actually in the hot tub when Neeson first arrived (apparently he holds all his meeting there.) Why am I bringing this up? Because it means he spends the entire final fight in his tighty whities. And it looks every bit as ridiculous as you'd expect. Although apparently, he doesn't need any kind of body armour because he can walk barefoot on glass shards without any injuries. John McClane calls bullshit.
Anyway, after a tough fight, Neeson shoots GRM twice in the torso. But apparently GRM has some sort of weird healing factor because when we see his body (and we get some pretty good looks in all his tighty whitey glory) there are no bullet wounds or blood. GRM is dying anyway but tells Neeson that, shocker, he didn't kill the latter's wife and that Stuart was playing them both against each other the whole time! That's right! Sleazy, obviously evil husband turned out to be evil the whole time!
Forest, meanwhile, has discovered that Stu had a massive life insurance policy out on Jean Grey (which really should've been one of the first things he checked) and tracks Stu's phone GPS to the building. Speaking of Stu, he shoots Neeson's secret service friend and takes Kim hostage, because it wouldn't be a Taken film if that didn't happen at least once (no matter how goddamn contrived). Speaking of secret service friend, according to the police at the scene, he was alive when they arrived, but the movie just kinda forgets about him. We never see paramedics attend to him and never find out if he survived. Anyway, Neeson has to take the elevator to leave the building, but the cops see it come it down and are prepared to arrest anyone in it! How does Neeson escape? I think you all know the answer to this.
Yup, Neeson somehow teleports out of the elevator into the elevator shaft. We see him in the elevator and there's no visible service hatch either. He just teleports. Something that's happened so many times it's practically canon for this movie. Anyway, Stu is headed for the airport with Kim to make his escape. Neeson steals a car and races to catch. Just as Stu's private plane is going down the runway to take off, Neeson rams the front wheel with his car and causes it to crash, obviously killing everyone on board, especially since they weren't wearing seatbelts. No wait, against all semblance of logic, Stu and Kim are fine. Completely unharmed. Stu holds Kim hostage in a standoff pitifully resolved when Kim pushes him away, Neeson shoots him and Stu apparently forgets he's holding a gun. Somehow, the sheer shock of being shot doesn't cause Stu to drop dead and Neeson beats the crap out of him for good measure. He's about to shoot Stu when Kim begs him not to because.............. I don't even care anymore.
Neeson lets Stu get arrested by Forest and promises that, once/if Stu gets out, Neeson will be gunning for him. Rather than just killing him now, I suppose. Forest tells Neeson he knew the latter was innocent all along. Why? Because the bagels Neeson bought at the beginning were still warm. And why would Neeson go out and buy fresh bagels if he was going to immediately kill his wife? The only problem with that sentiment is that Forest never once, throughout the entire movie, brings up the possibility that Neeson is innocent except at the end when it's blatantly obvious Stu did it. Doesn't even hint it. Basically, Forest is lying through his teeth here to cover up the fact that he's a terrible cop.
Anyway, Forest ignores the countless deaths Neeson has caused in his rampage and lets him go. The final scene is Neeson sitting with his daughter and her boyfriend (who's had like one scene in the entire movie) and tells them he supports their wish to have a child. Kim tells Neeson that, if its a girl, they plan to name their daughter after Jean Grey (and will probably have more screentime than her). And that's the end. We don't find what happens to secret service guy, Stu or any other after-effects. It just ends. And I have never seen a packed theatre leave so quickly.
So that's Taken 3. It's shit. Don't go see it.