If you have the worst possible luck, it’s good to have a particular set of skills. Liam Neeson is everyone’s superhero, but French writer-director Luc Besson (co-writer here) has now been associated with this entire sleeper hit series, as well as “The Transporter” series, “Lucy,” The Fifth Element” and “La Femme Nikita;” all under-estimated by the industry and each fully appreciated by action-thriller aficionados.
Neeson stipulated he would work this sequel only if nobody gets “taken” again, per se. Of course something bad is going to happen to somebody, otherwise, we would have no movie, and more important, no heroics. Here, ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, is on the verge of reconciliation with ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). When she’s brutally murdered, Bryan is framed for the crime and must evade the pursuit of veteran LAPD Lt. Dotzler, played with low-key wit and intelligence by Forest Whitaker.
When Dotzler tells Bryan the authorities are going to come for him, find him and stop him, Bryan responds, “Good luck.” If you remember from the original 2008 film, when Bryan tells the kidnapper on the phone exactly what he will do, the kidnapper replies the same, “Good luck.” So, Bryan is back in action, which is why we all came. He gets chased on foot through the neighborhoods and then through the streets of L.A. by car.
Each scene brings a new set of thrills, spills and skills. Neeson performs his own fight sequences, which are remarkable for a 62-year-old man. but spliced and edited to a point of distraction. Unlike O.J., Bryan is actively trying to track down his wife’s real killers, as well as to protect his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace).
“Taken 3” is 109 minutes and rated PG-13 for intense violence, action and language. Neeson was perfectly cast in this role for his gravitas, grit and suave maturity. There is nothing more to this series than “what you see is what you get,” but what you see is Neeson and his skills. He really wanted the prior film to be the last of the series, so if they ask him to appear once again, we think his response will be “Good luck.”