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January 09, 2015

Just a scholarly essay on Taken 3.

The Retakening.

Today I took myself to see Taken 3. It has been exactly 2 years to the day almost since I watched the previous blessing from 20 Century Fox.

Some of the best advertising for the movie say “The final installment” and “It ends here.” Promising we’ll never have to go see another Taken movie if we just go watch this one. Just this last time. And the producers will never try anything so silly again.

The movie was precisely silly enough. I cackled 5 times in a very quiet theater. I patted some people on the back I didn’t even know. I had a time. I watched it in 2D, though I would’ve have LOVED to see it in 1D. Just a line projected onto the screen. How dangerous. And artsy. Because let’s face it, this is the king of all arthouse movies. And I am so glad they brought back Liam Neeson for it. What the film would’ve been without him I can’t imagine.

The movie was predictably awesome. Liam Neeson is more invulnerable than ever. I’m serious a bullet recrocheted off his nose during a fight scene. Neeson once again puts himself at the top of all the Liams. Way ahead of Liam Hemsworth or Liam Rimes. Read on for the Taken 3 Diary I kept throughout the movie.

Opening scene… looks like they’ve brought in at least one discount Jason Statham. No Liam Neeson yet but I don’t think it’s too early to say this is the best movie of 2015. Then! Liam Neeson buying a giant stuffed panda for his 20-something daughter, but he doesn’t give it to her and I start thinking, gosh I hope he carries that panda around with him the whole movie. Like during a fight or chase scene, the panda takin’ a few bullets here, losing all the stuffing out of one arm… SPOILER ALERT: The movie continues to be awesome. Liam Neeson might be a grandpa. He and his daughter must deal with the very real threat of unplanned pregnancy, or a puppy. No one is certain. If it turns out she has a baby I hope they give it a puppy name. Rascal, or something. Luckily, the music is helpful and tells the audience how to feel during critical moments. And sometimes right before, we’re told how we’re about to feel by music that has overtaken anything happening onscreen. Any reader of scholarly research on the Taken series knows that in this universe all Eastern Europeans are evil. And by the number of them it’s like the film is set in Los Angeles, Albania.

Early in the film Neeson tries to rekindle romance with his ex-wife. Sadly, she’s taken. Her husband comes over to tell Liam to step off so he and his wife can work on their marriage through a trip he’s taking by himself to Vegas. While left unattended for mere moments, Lenore is killed. Liam Neeson mourns his lost Lenore, even going to see her dead body at the morgue, slipping past the undertaker, in a move clearly inspired by Edgar Allen Poe.

20 minutes in we have Liam Neeson in skinny jeans. Then he shows off his prowess as sprinter, some high-level gymnastic skill, and the dexterity of a ninja turtle. He spends more time in the sewer than I expected. I think he is contractually obligated to say “Listen carefully” at least once in the film. His character, Bryan Mills, does miss out on an opportunity to drive a white Ford Bronco at low speeds down the 101 while being chased by the cops. Then he tells a buddy that he’s worried his daughter is going to get “snatched.” Because if she’s taken again, he can totally handle it and rescue her. But a snatching? No way man.

Wrongfully accused of killing his wife, and on the lam, the character should be billed as “Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills as Dr. Richard Kimball.” And Forest Whitaker’s lazy eye is on him the entire time, trying to anticipate his next humanly-impossible move.

In my favorite chase scene, after Mills lets himself be taken in by the cops, we have police cars chasing police cars chasing OTHER police cars. With loads of evidence as to why you should avoid buying a used police cruiser at the auto auction. I don’t care if it’s only a thousand dollars, guy. And guess who drives his cop car down an elevator shaft. Liam Flippin’ Neeson. Then we find out Bryan Mills-Kimball-Neeson might be diabetic. The breakneck thrills! The specTAKEular action! The exclamations!

I got so taken in by the storyline I forgot to write about it for a while. Until the final bad guy hasta fight Mills in his tighty whiteys. Loads of fighting. Zero dignity. Favorite line from the last section of the film: “I will shoot you in the head.” Then Liam Neeson releases the kraken. He kills everybody to death.

If it’s gay to enjoy Taken 3 or sleep with men, then I must be gay. Because I meet one of those qualifications. Liam Neeson should win Razzies and Oscars in the same categories.

The whole thing leaves it open for a possible fourth film. Liam Neeson was barely even shot in the stomach at the end of the movie. It was by far the most takenist movie I’ve watched all year.

If you need some catching up, here is my report on the previous installment: https://www.facebook.com/notes/danl-newll/my-book-report-on-taken-2/10151388470118278