Recently, I got around to watching the Taken movies. I started watching it the same way I started watching Die Hard. I was on my TV guide, saw that it had just started, I had heard about it in the past as a critically acclaimed action movie, and I just decided to check it out because I love action movies.
I watched it, and it was a good movie. I thought the action scenes were perfectly crafted, and it beat the standard of action films because there was no main antagonist. All of the traffickers were antagonists, and they were for the same cause.
Then, I watched Taken 2, and I thought it was okay. Yes, it was a rehash of the original, but it had its differences, there was exciting action, and sequels rarely live up to their predecessor, so it was as okay as I expected it to be.
But then, I watched Taken 3, and WOW, it was crap. They might as well have just s**t in a DVD case, taped Liam Neeson's face onto it, and served it to us on a fresh, hot plate of 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, and this is what we would get.
Seriously, this movie was reaching A Good Day to Die Hard-levels of bad action movie. I mean, I honestly couldn't wait for the credits to come. This was also the longest Taken movie, so it seemed like 20th Century Fox just had it out for us with this film.
I don't normally write reviews on films that were released years ago, but this is gonna be one of the rare (if only) cases where I have to. Because it was f**king bad. There will be spoilers, but who the f**k cares with this movie?
Here We Go.
If you're gonna have a movie called Taken, then there's not much you can do about the plots of the sequels. That's why in Taken 2, there was nothing to do but to have Lenore get taken, and just go through pretty much the same s**t, but still have it be fun and entertaining.
And let's say you decide to make a Taken 3. You can't just have Kim or Lenore be taken again. And they sure as hell weren't gonna have Kim's boyfriend be taken. The f**k does he matter for? So, you had to go another direction.
And this trailer made the movie seem great. I mean, I wasn't interested in action back then, and this was something I've just more recently gotten into. But when I watched the trailer, it seemed good.
I knew it got bad reviews, but I couldn't see it as being that bad. And there were several reasons why I didn't like this movie: first, the directing was pretty bad.
Let's put it this way: when I watched the David Yates-directed Harry Potter movies, I was mildly annoyed by the amount of cuts in a scene. But this was the WORST.
You can't go one hundredth of a second in this scene without the camera cutting to something else. They even cut to the same person or car. We're seeing more cuts in this video than there is in your average Nicole Arbour video. I mean, as bad as this movie was, nothing is less watchable than a Nicole Arbour video.
But anyways, I don't have that much of a problem with overcutting scenes unless it becomes extremely difficult to tell what's happening. And that was the case here.
There was also the shaky cam, which I've never been a fan of unless it's a found footage movie. I hate when the camera is so jittery you can barely even see anything. So, Oliver Megaton really didn't do a great job with the directing.
And also, Lenore is killed off in this movie.
WHAT?! I mean, it wasn't the worst decision in the world, but given that Bryan spent the second movie trying to save Lenore, doesn't killing Lenore in this one render Taken 2 as useless?
I mean, what would have been the point in Bryan trying to save Lenore in the second movie if she was just gonna die anyway in the third? And there's also the fact that it took WAY too long for Bryan to fight any bad guys in this movie. Usually, right when Bryan starts his investigation into something, he fights and kills a bunch of bad guys from the start.
I was watching this movie on TV, so I don't know how long it was, but I'm estimating that it was about an HOUR before Bryan actually killed any bad guys in a liquor store. The first hour was brief scenes of him avoiding the police, and fighting THE POLICE.
But with all these flaws, these weren't the main things that bothered me about Taken 3. This is what I HATED about this. In the first film, this is what Stuart looked like.
There. That's not bad. Here's another shot of him.
Oh, okay. So, that's what Stuart looks like. So, in this third movie, you're gonna expect him to look about the same, right? Heh heh heh. WRONG.
YO, WHAT THE F**K, MAN?!
That is NOT Stuart. I mean, sure, Xander Berkeley was busy when this movie was filmed. But this is the single worst recasting ever. They couldn't have gotten an actor that looked remotely like Berkeley?! Because this is a motherf**king outrage.
I mean, you see that crap, right?! I saw him in the movie and first, I was like, "Who the f**k is this?!" Then, I hear that it's Stuart, and I'm like, "Why the f**k does he look so different?!"
The writers f**ked up Stuart badly. I mean, they might as well have just fingered him in the ass. Because that is not f**king Stuart. Stuart had white hair and a beard in the first movie. And this is not close to him.
If they wanted to show how Kim's father was actually evil this entire time, then they could have made that a little more believable by hiring an actor that actually looked like him in the first film. And in the original Taken, Stuart was clearly caring for Kim when she came back. This character change makes no sense.
How could Stuart have gone from hugging Kim with love to THIS?!
And don't give me all that "He was a bad guy all along" crap, either. They clearly weren't planning on making any sequels, and this was the result with his character.
Not only that, but that isn't even Stuart. How can Bryan and Kim and Lenore just see these two folks and say that they're the same person? Like, come the f**k on, that's bullcrap.
If they had gotten the same actor, or even an actor who looked similar to Berkeley, I would not have given two s**ts. I didn't care about the casting of Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future II & III, because she looked pretty similar to Claudia Wells from the original.
But they could not convince me into thinking that these two were the same person. Because he aged BACKWARDS. That will not fool me. The only explanation here is that Lenore got divorced from the original Stuart and became married to another younger guy named Stuart. THAT'S THE ONLY EXPLANATION.
Stuart couldn't have just been a convincing loving and caring father to Kim for years, and then all of a sudden, become a murderous douchebag who would kill her. That's f**king lazy.
But I wouldn't have as much trouble believing that if the actors were similar. If they had hired similar-looking actors, then maybe they could fool me into thinking that. They might have even fooled me into thinking it was genius. But with this new guy, I am not gonna buy into this bullcrap.
There's also the new Russian bad guys, and this main Russian villain just had me on the edge.
Come on, he is RIDICULOUSLY ugly, nothing about him is memorable, he has the worst haircut since Credence in Fantastic Beasts, and he dies in his underwear. I didn't cringe in this movie because of the action violence; I cringed about this guy's strange-looking, ugly-ass dead naked body on the stairs.
They also made him Russian, which makes me wonder why once action films turn Russian, they become crap? Also, this Oleg Malankov guy didn't even have connections to the Albanian traffickers in the first two, making him an extremely random villain.
And as normal for bad guys, he has their standard s**tty aim when firing guns, and throughout this entire scene, there was nothing I wanted more than for this motherf**ker to put on some pants. He was shooting at someone with an unbuttoned shirt, and a sagging diaper.
You can't really blame me for not really taking this one seriously. He looks like f**king Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber.
Also, in the first Taken, it was clear that the villains were sex traffickers, and they were simply evil humans abducting innocent girls to turn them into sex slaves. In the second film, the villains wanted revenge on Bryan for killing their families in the original.
But what was it with this movie? The Stuart imposter had some debts or something with Russians? And as a result, he decides to abduct Kim and kill Lenore? While framing other people? Like, COME ON.
Okay, this was an exciting action scene. I will give them that. But I'm still not clear on what Fake Stuart was doing. I mean, he was abducting Kim and he kept pointing a gun at her, but not shooting, for some reason. He yelled at her to shut up when she didn't say anything.
And not only that, but Bryan doesn't even get to kill Fake Stuart. I mean, I wasn't even too sure if I WANTED to see Fake Stuart dead. Because again, that was definitely not the Stuart in the first movie.
Have you noticed something? In the first film, Bryan kills every villain he can. IN the second film, Bryan gives the villain an opportunity to end his vendetta, but when he doesn't he kills him. And in this film, he doesn't get to kill the villain at all.
These films got less anti-climactic as they went on. I mean, Bryan deciding not to kill Murad until the last moment in Taken 2 wasn't bad. But we didn't even get to see a good villain death in this movie.
But my point is, this movie was pretty bad, and mainly because of the nonsensical villain and Stuart's unexplained physical change.