Right off the bat this reviewer needs to warn that this will be more “inside baseball” than usual. As a film major there are things you pick up on because you know more about the process of filmmaking than the average moviegoer. Having said that it is not hard to see Taken 3 is a terrible film. After the first couple of scenes you are going to realize it was a big mistake to pay for such garbage. This film, with what can hopefully be the final entry in this pointless saga, showcases how inept filmmakers can make a movie unbearable.
Instead of starting on the writing let’s focus on the more problematic areas of the film. Instead of being ‘invisible’ and seamless to the viewer the editing is appallingly obvious. Editors Audrey Simonaud and Nicolas Trembasiewicz do such a poor job with the flow of this picture that it literally becomes sickening trying to follow this film. Fight scenes are incoherent at best, car chases are nauseating to watch, and there are some laughable cuts throughout this. In particular there are countless, poorly timed reactions shots and different angles will be peppered through out a scene even for a single bit of dialogue. In general action films are now cut to movement instead of letting a scene breath but Taken 3 literally takes it to a whole new level.
Even if the editing is atrocious it is not like there is anything visually appealing to this third entry. Director Olivier Megaton does not seem to understand the most basic skills as a filmmaker. Rule of thirds, a steady eye, and even the most obvious functions of depth of field are completely ignored. There are moments where you can tell poor takes were used because the camera is not even prepared to follow the action. It is not like you can blame his Cinematographer Eric Kress because he has actually worked with bigger names like Lars Von Trier and had no issues!
Writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen have shown for over twenty years how to make an action movie entertaining. There is absolutely nothing in this that signifies the same team gave us the surprising hit that was the original Taken. Nothing but generic characters and situations to the point where it makes you wonder if this is a parody. Most of the characters are gruff (and apparently cannot afford a razor), there are typical Eastern Europeans as the bad guys, and even the more ludicrous set pieces have no pizzazz. It is Liam Neeson though that comes away looking foolish than anything else. Clearly he is struggling to keep up physically in this but also it is hard not to come away that he is coasting to get his paycheck.
After four paragraphs it is obvious that Taken 3 is best to be avoided. This is one of the most poorly directed, edited, and written movies of any genre to come out in some time. Might be hard to imagine considering what has come out lately in theaters but it’s true. Honestly if they would have turned this into a comedy it would have made more sense than the slop presented here. Apart from easily making top ten lists for the worst of the worst in 2015 let us just pretend this never happened.