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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Taken 3

April 27th, 2015

Taken 3 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Taken 3 is the second movie I've reviewed this weekend. The first was atrocious, but unfortunately, this one earned even worse reviews. Is it that bad? Is it simply a mindless action film that can take up two hours of your life?

The Movie

The movie begins with a prologue where a man is kidnapped. We quickly learn than this man is Stuart's accountant and the man who is behind the kidnapping is Oleg Malankov, a man Stuart owes a lot of money to. He gets the accountant to open the safe inside his office, but when there is no money, he shoots the accountant and leaves a voice mail for Stuart.

After the credits, we see Bryan go visit his daughter, Kim, and he brings her a giant stuffed panda for her birthday. It's an awkward visit, because Kim just found out she is pregnant and doesn't want to tell her father, especially when her boyfriend, Jimy, drops by. Bryan then talks to his ex-wife, Lenore, and invites her to dinner. At first she passes, but shows up anyway. It turns out her marriage to Stuart is on the rocks and she needs someone to talk to. A little while later, Stuart shows up to talk, asking Bryan to stay away from Lenore while they work things out. Bryan agrees, but...

The next day, Lenore texts Bryan asking to meet at his apartment to talk. However, when he gets there, she's been killed. Seconds later, the cops are there responding to a call about a domestic dispute. Its clear whoever killed Lenore has framed Bryan. It is equally clear what Bryan has to do.

Reviewing the third film of a franchise. There's really only one question that needs to be asked. Did you like the first two films? If so, stay far away. Usually, if you liked the previous films in a franchise, you are more likely to enjoy the third installment, but the quality has fallen so far that watching this film might make you retroactively dislike the first film.

The original Taken wasn't high art, but it was, in my opinion, a really well executed action thriller. It stretched credibility, but for some that over-the-top action was a selling point. On the other hand, Taken 3 is a by-the-numbers sequel that lacks the energy and the spark the first film had. There's not enough action in the movie and what we do have is repetitive and unoriginal. Even Liam Neeson seems less than excited about this movie. It feels like a paycheck for him and nothing more. Stick with the original and ignore this one.

The Extras

The Blu-ray includes the unrated edition of the movie, which is seven minutes longer. This is the version I watched. There are also seven minutes of deleted scenes and three short featurettes. I was expecting more extras, especially for a movie that made $300 million worldwide.

This is another film that was shot digitally and the transfer is strong as a result. The level of details is high, the colors pop, the blacks are deep. It isn't the flashiest film I've seen, but I can't complain about the look of the film. The audio is more active than most films with the bass in particular getting a workout. There are also plenty of directional effects and ambient sounds.

The Blu-ray costs $20, which is $5 or 33% more than the DVD. This is standard for first-run releases.

The Verdict

With Taken 3, it is clear that the formula has run out of steam and that even those making the movie are no longer excited to be there. The extras on the DVD or Blu-ray are not enough for a first-run release and even if you are a hardcore fan of the franchise, it is only worth a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, The Boy Next Door, Taken 3, Taken, Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Jonny Weston