Friday, May 29, 2015

Taken 3 Unrated Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
The hunter becomes the hunted when Liam Neeson returns as former CIA operative Bryan Mills, who finds himself framed for the brutal murder of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen). Consumed with rage, and pursued by a savvy police inspector (Forest Whitaker), Mills must rely on his “particular set of skills” one last time to find the real killers, clear his name, and protect the only thing that matters to him now — his daughter (Maggie Grace).

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) has already been through the kidnapping of his beautiful daughter Kim more than once. His relationship with Kim (Maggie Grace) hasn’t been perfect but when she’s needed her dad he’s always been there for her. Bryan also has a very good relationship with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) who is now married to another man. 

In Taken 3, tragedy strikes and Bryan is blamed for the crime. Mills has gone to the ends of the Earth to protect his family and now we see what he’ll do to clear his name. Bryan is on the run from the LAPD but also has a criminal element on his tail. Detective Frank Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) picks up on small clues that hint at Bryan’s innocence while Bryan enlists the assistance of his old friends as he goes into hiding. When Dotzler gets the chance to talk directly to his suspect Bryan asks for two days to prove his innocence. Dotzler isn’t willing to back off and let Mills do this thing, but he does keep an open mind during his investigation.

I always recommend seeing movies in order. If a film has a three in the title it is usually a good idea to see 1 and 2 first. Even if the third film gives you a good summary or has little to do with the stories of its predecessors, you would still get to know the characters better by watching all related films. If you’re not ready for a Taken binge, all you really need to know is that Liam Neeson loves his family and gets very angry when people mess with his loved ones.

Some will criticize the film for being a Fugitive rip-off but I'd like to think that those involved intended it to be a homage. You could also ask why after so many abductions Bryan and his family bother to go outside. I happen to love Liam Neeson, especially when he’s angry and I love the character Bryan Mills and all that he does.

Taken 3 packs a bit more emotion than the previous films. It’s not the non-stop butt kicking you might have come to love, but it still has enough action to satisfy my thirst for vengeance. If you didn’t enjoy the previous films, nothing about this one will change your mind. I do think that the Taken films should be put to bed after number three. Liam Neeson can and will find other outlets for his onscreen anger. 
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Taken 3 is presented on Blu-ray courtesy with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in a 2.38:1 ratio. There is a variety of hand held and shots to increase the drama and excitement. Detail is excellent and is especially commendable in darker sequences. There's no real digital defects to speak of as the image quality is impressive throughout.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Taken 3's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is everything you’d expect. Gunfire and related chase sequences are powerful. Background and environmental sounds are immersive and accurate. As Bryan hides in a storm drain you can close your eyes and will feel like you’re knee deep in the same water. Dialogue, whether spoken, whispered or yelled is consistent and intelligible at all times.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Taken 3 Blu-ray contains the following supplemental features:

  • Deleted Scene - "Flashback Malankove"(7:16)
  • Sam's Bunker, A.K.A. The Rabbit Hole (3:01) an animated tour of Sam’s bunker and its weapons.  Each item can be accessed individually or with a play all feature.
  • Taken to L.A. (4:16) – A look at some of the film’s LA locations.
  • Taken Legacy (4:54) A brief look at the franchise and its impact.
  • Gallery – A still gallery with manual or automatic advance options.
  • Theatrical Trailer
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Taken 3 is the tamest of the three Taken films. Bryan Mills is still a bad ass but grieving a loss has made him more sad than angry which dilutes a bit of the action. The Blu-ray offers both theatrical and unrated versions but the unrated film is still pretty tame. I enjoyed all three Taken films and may be a bit biased at this point due to my love for the character. At this point, I think we’ve seen enough of Mill’s loved ones being Taken, but I would watch a fourth film if it came to be. Taken 3 is no Taken, but it’s still entertaining enough for me.

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