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'Taken 3' a step back for this franchise

Taken 3

Taken 3

If you haven't seen the other two movies in the "Taken" franchise, don't worry, you don't need to. But for those who have seen the other two, you may find the action sequences a little dumbed down.

Liam Neeson is the main character: a gruff, resourceful ex-covert spy. In this version, it seems the producers are trying to develop his character by showing a sensitive and honorable side. Their attempts fail miserably; almost like getting The Hulk to knit a sweater. One major difference in "Taken 3" is that no one is kidnapped.

Instead, Neeson is framed for a murder. It's now his sole purpose to find the real killers and protect his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). The one thing Grace does in each "Taken" is cry. She's forever crying over this or that, so much so it's predictable. At least in "Taken 2" Grace started to stand up for herself and fight back. Too bad her character doesn't continue in that vein.

As Neeson pursues the real killers, police Inspector Dozier (Forest Whitaker) is hot on his trail. Whitaker does an excellent job playing the intelligent detective, almost foreseeing Neeson's antics and tricks. Whitaker is the calm, cool and collected inspector and almost mirrors Neeson's character in that it is all business and no emotion.

"Taken 3" starts out with a bang and then almost lulls you to sleep while trying to make Neeson's character a sensitive, normal human being. Once Neeson begins his own investigation into the killing there are police chases, shootouts and a lot of hand-to-hand combat.

The difference in "Taken 3," though, is during those action sequences they move from one camera angle to the next and you're not sure exactly who Neeson is fighting. During a car crash scene there was no way Neeson could have gotten out of the car. But a few minutes later he's somewhere else without a scratch on him. Maybe getting out of the car was left on the cutting room floor. There are more fights and gun battles that follow and seem just as illogical. That's why I say the action sequences were dumbed down a bit.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of action to keep you going throughout the rest of the movie. I just think the producers missed something in not developing Grace's character to possibly take over once Neeson's character is old enough for a walker.

I'm still a Neeson fan and Whitaker really shined, but "Taken 3" doesn't do the franchise justice. The movie is rated PG13 and is just under two hours long. I'll still give "Taken 3" three out of four Miners - but just barely.