Donnerstag, 15. Januar 2015

Taken 3

With a snappy beat and unique brand of thrill, the first two entries of the unlikely Taken-franchise became surprising but deserved hits. Carried by a sleek technical package and a fiery, single-minded drive, they represented the most entertaining, easily digestible kind of trashy euro production that Luc Besson and Co. have perfected. Unfortunately the same can't be said of the latest installment from French director Olivier Megaton.

After Paris and Istanbul, the story is set in L.A. this time around where, rather self-contradictorily, no one in ex-government operative Bryan Mills' family is kidnapped. Instead, we get the classic wronged-fugitive-versus-misled-law-enforcement routine. This is in itself not necessarily a problem, however tired the storyline may be. But the script just misfires on every level. The plot is uninspired and often nonsensical, generating zero suspense as all attempts at a memorable hook fail. Worse still, the screenwriters seem to have mistakenly bought into the belief that people come see this film expecting a refreshing take on family and relationships. Smarmy and tone-deaf, the misguidedly proliferated scenes depicting the private moments shared by the characters are just painful to watch.

Neeson is no doubt a terrific actor but it's becoming more and more of a stretch to sell him as this Jason Bourne-type who can outrun police officers half his age and beat up thugs left and right. Even with the help of a lot of shaky camera movements and quick edits, the lazily choreographed action sequences never build up to much more than a whimper, let alone a bang. The subpar soundwork, costing the immediacy of the situations, softens the proceedings further.

Poorly conceived and clunkily executed, this supposed end of a trilogy has none of the pulpy fun of its predecessors and feels above all else like a hurried job to cash in on some leftover welcome.

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