Liam Neeson (Sean Bean) is kicking down the door to a cinema near you in the this summer’s latest instalment in the hit Taken series, Taken 3: Take on Me.
Taken 3: Take On Me is a real ‘A-Ha’ moment for the franchise, as we see a tired, decrepit Liam Neeson struggle to deal with not only the same shadowy organisation who keeps kidnapping his daughter, but also the deadly toll that movies one and two have taken on his skin care routine.
“Skin care routine”
We open on Liam Neeson surprising his daughter, Kim Neeson (the daughter of Jack Bauer from 24) with a giant bear and a bottle of champagne, in what we can only assume is a tricky way of preparing her for when the kidnappers try to entice her into a van with a giant bear and a bottle of champagne. Job done for the day, he goes home to his loving wife Jean Grey (The Phoenix, a force of pure cosmic energy). Jean Grey, like many wives, has been stabbed – and twist o’clock, the pigs think that Liam Neeson did it.
This is where the grumbly action that the Taken franchise is known for kicks off with both feet. While Sean Bean might be getting older every year, the people who design the stunts for these movies aren’t. These undying liche lords of stunt mayhem have Mr Bean jumping off everything. And if he’s not jumping off it, he’s blowing it up. And if he’s not jumping off it and blowing it up, it’s his daughter, Kim.
“IT’S HIS DAUGHTER, KIM.”
In many ways, you can tell that director Bobby Megatron has crafted Taken 3 as a sort of homage to the action classic ‘The Fugitive’ in the sense that in many literal ways, Sean Neeson is ‘a fugitive’. This is particularly noticeable in the scene where Sean is fleeing from the law, which forms the majority of the film. It’s not entirely clear what the law enforcement agencies will do to Liam Payne if they find him, but it’s easy to see why he decides to flee from them rather than sit down and discuss things rationally like a normal human being.
Fans of Lil’ Neeson’s threatening phone calls from the original Taken will not be disappointed. While denied the use of his phone by the scheming FBI and their swooping satellites, Nelson nevertheless sends several badass faxes to his enemies, warning them of particular things he can do, threatening dreams he’s had, diploma’s in Small Business Management that he’s been awarded.
Taken 3: Taken Out the Trash is a far darker movie to its predecessors – his wife has been “taken” by a “knife” in the “heart” and where she has been taken to is the valley of death, and he cannot go there. Always before he’s managed to rescue his daughter Kimbra from the places she has been taken to: the kidnappers conference, the sex boat, the grocery store – but alas, he cannot return Jean Grey from the dead.
It’s the ambivalence inherent in this grim turn to the story of Larry Styles that elevates Taken 3 into more than simply the beating of a dead cash cow. I am unashamed to admit my eyes welled with sympathetic tears more than once throughout the screening – Sam Nelson is a character that a man can truly relate to. People take his things – my roommate, Robbie, ate two of my cucumbers without asking. But after watching this movie, I realised that it wasn’t a simple case of suffering a roommate with wandering hands and the odour of a lactating snake – my cucumbers were taken.
“MY CUCUMBERS WERE TAKEN”
TAKEN 3: TAKE ON ME hits the cinemas like that dude from The Slap hits that child sometime during February I think. 4 stars.