In Taken, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) uses what he calls "a very particular set of skills" to manumit his daughter from Albanian sex traders. Taken 2 sees him trying to do the same for himself and his wife, while his daughter works from the outside. Neither of the two films was exactly a masterpiece of cinematic glory. However, the first part had its own quasi-comedic charm, while the sequel worked with the improbability of the premise with a misguided confidence that paid off nevertheless. Therefore, you might think that while the further adventures of this CIA veteran might not sit well with your intellect, they will at least engage your interest.
You would, however, be wrong.
From the moment it begins, Taken 3 feels rather like its retirement-ready protagonist - aged and weary and ready to give it a rest. It begins with the attempt by Mills' former wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) at reconciliation with him, and then ending up dead in his bed. Mills' latest race against the clock is instigated by former colleague Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker), an antagonist so laughably inadequate that Mills' free use of his aforementioned skillset seems rather like overkill. Mills needs to find his wife's killer, keep himself out of prison, and do something about the fact that his car-stealing, grenade-tossing daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) has found herself at the mercy of her physiology (read: pregnant).
Anyway, a lot of running around happens, a lot of people die, and a lot of improbable scenarios are constructed around one unconvincing premise that the writers seem to have confused for fact - that Bryan Mills is basically indestructible.
This is a premise so tired that not even Liam Neeson's proficiency at "Liam Neesoning" the hell out of it can save it from tiring you. It certainly does not help that even Neeson seems tired of being Neeson. The actor sleepwalks through his self-deprecating charm, with his usual grave earnestness replaced by nothing more than an eagerness to just get it all over with.
Maggie Grace is as charming as ever, her rapport with Neeson being one of the few watchable aspects of Taken 3. Famke Janssen does justice to her blink-and-miss-it role, while Forest Whitaker does his best with a thoroughly underwhelming character. Dougray Scott is just the right amount of sleazy, and the rest of the cast muddles through its ridiculous lines without bursting into giggles or crying out in frustration, something that the audience will be hard put not to do.
While the action is proficiently choreographed, it is also mostly uninspired and often superfluous, making Neeson's antics against his unequal adversaries seem like kicking a sick puppy. The plot is barely in evidence at all, and when it does make its presence felt, only succeeds in making your head throb at the idiocy of it all.
Basically, we have good news and bad, with the good news being that Taken 3 is ostensibly the last of its franchise. The bad news however is that the sneaky money grubbers behind this project have sneaked in an opening for a sequel, whose existence ostensibly depends on whether or not you throw your money at this part. For the good of mankind, don't.