So I’ll get to the meat of this straight away, how does this compare to the first two? Well, the good news is that Tak3n is better than the garbage that was Taken 2. The bad news is that, as we all expected, it’s not as good as Taken.
So what’s wrong with it? Well, not that much really, it’s just….OK. A lot of the stupid that plagued Taken 2 is gone (grenades as a makeshift GPS, for example), in fact the cops in Tak3n weren’t complete idiots – possibly a first for any action film ever made. Honestly, if anything, the detective played by Forest Whitaker is downright smart.
No, there are two real problems here. The first is that the plot is obvious. Really, really obvious. I imagine most four-year olds will watch this and say “Character X did it. Duh”. Two minutes in, tops. But that’s not the end of the world, this is an action film after all and none of us are expecting Shakespeare.
The second problem occurred to me about ten minutes in, when Liam Neeson started doing what he was born to do and started kicking ass. A creeping feeling of horror crept over me as I unfolded my ticket and……yep. Rated 12 bloody A.
In Taken, we had an 18 rated film and so we got to see Liam Neeson with bad-assery oozing from his pores like whiskey does from mine on a Sunday morning. Going to tell me what I want to know? No? Fine, I’ll put bullets in your wife’s kneecaps till you change your mind. The character of Brian Mills is supposed to be smart, resourceful and brutal. An unstoppable force. There’s an “interrogation” scene in Tak3n but compared to the one in Taken, it’s like a trip to Disneyland. With Tak3n, they make the effort, they really do and as a standalone action film, I’d probably rate it higher than I am here. Trouble is, I’ve seen Taken and it’s great and Tak3n is just a watered down, kid friendly wannabe.
I understand why they’ve done it. The first film was such a surprise hit and the studio wanted to cash in. PG-13 means a much bigger audience of teens and kids who’ll think they’re watching something awesome cause they don’t know any better. The rest of us poor fools will head on in hoping that, just this once, they’ll make a sequel that’s good and not a shameless cash in. One day, studios will realise that the cinema-going public is more likely to spend their money watching films and watching them more regularly, if there’s a fighting chance that they’ll be any good.
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