The Fugitive with Mad Skills
For Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) his most pressing concern is that his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), is growing up, what he doesn't know is that she has recently discovered she is pregnant. But when his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), is found murdered in his bed Bryan's pressing concern is to prove he is innocent as he is forced to turn fugitive with the police lead by Detective Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) always just one step behind. Fortunately Bryan still has his old friends and together they set about getting to the bottom of who killed Lenore, protecting Kim, and why Bryan is being set up for the murder. It is an investigation which brings them to Lenore's husband Stuart St. John (Dougray Scott) via a psychotic Russian Oleg Malankob (Sam Spruell) and his henchmen.
It is said that Liam Neeson only agreed to make "Taken 3" if no on one was taken in this movie, in fact a scene in which Bryan watches CCTV footage of Lenore being bundled into a van avoids even using the word "taken" and instead he refers to her as being "snatched". And to be honest the deviation from the formula leaves me in two minds as to whether it was the right thing to do. On one hand yes it was right because for either Lenore or Kim to be taken again would have just been ridiculous and by making Bryan a fugitive allows him to use his skills and connections in a different way with more help from those who are his friends. But on the other hand this basically makes "Taken 3" just a version of "The Fugitive" with the one armed man replaced by someone with a tattooed hand.
Putting aside whether the deviating from the formula was right or wrong there is no denying that "Taken 3" is entertaining with Neeson in fine form as Bryan making him are man with spy skills but also bringing touches of age to his character so that when he jumps from a window on to a bin it does knock the wind out of him. But whilst "Taken 3" without Neeson would have been wrong, the same could be said of Maggie Grace as Kim, a lot of the movie's success comes down to the casting of Forest Whitaker as Dotzler. What Whitaker does is to make him a methodical, thinking detective who you can sense is playing out the case like it is a game of chess, thinking several steps ahead of the men who work for him who under estimate who they are dealing with when they go after Bryan.
What this all boils down to is that "Taken 3" is entertaining and deviating from the previous two movies with a different storyline was right, I'm just not sure that going down the fugitive route was the right choice. But hopefully that is it for Neeson as Bryan Mills as bringing him back for more would just become ridiculous.