I’ve never seen any of the Taken films, over than trailers. They never appealed to me. I like Liam Neeson, but never went out of my way for the films. I was recommended them by a colleague who wanted to see what I thought, so I thought it would make a good Franchise Catch Up.
For those that are new, Franchise Catch Up is where I take a series of films (of at least 3 or more) and binge watch them, writing a initial thoughts for each one shortly after watching it. If you haven’t seen the Taken series and are curious, or you love the franchise and want to see what a newbie thinks, I hope you enjoy.
Taken – ★★★★
I remember this film coming out and seeing the trailer for the first time in the cinema and thinking it just looked stupid. I didn’t watch it based on that for 13 years and now that I finally have, I wish I’d watched it a lot sooner. It’s a seriously good action film. It spends enough time building up the characters at the beginning that I was invested when the plot kicks in. I wasn’t bored at any point. Liam Neeson is a great action hero. I thought the fights were great, the chase sequences were good and the film was very entertaining. There is a distinct lack of blood and apart from the final fight there Neeson is invincible. There’s a few moments where the film shows it’s age, with the music and how much better fight sequences look now. The camera is a little all over the place at points. Regardless it’s a hell of a lot better than John Wick and I’m looking forward to 2 and 3.
Taken 2 – ★★★
This one is a lot more over the top compared to the first one, but at the same time it’s still enjoyable. It’s played too straight and I wish it has leant into the goofiness a little more. There are so many silly moments, but I didn’t get the impression the film was supposed to be funny. The bad guys literally let Neeson call his daughter to let her know he’s going to be taken. The action is still good, the car sequences were good. It’s a solid sequel, but not as entertaining or thrilling as the original. There’s something missing, which is a shame because I really enjoyed the first one. On to the final part of the trilogy.
Taken 3 – ★★½
I feel like this has the same level of over the top as the second one but was somehow even more deadpan. He survives 2 cars exploding, and not one joke or pun. It’s a very dry film and could have really done with some style. It was a shock that Famke Janssen died so early on, but that’s the only part of this one that’s shocking at all. The twist is obvious from almost the first scene. The action is still good but the film drags on so much towards the end. Overall a decent film, but not worth going out of your way for.
I was surprised by the first Taken. It is a great action film. The series diminishes in quality with each instalment and the sequels just aren’t worth watching. If you haven’t seen them and like action films, then the first one is really worth watching. It’s short, punchy and has some great action. I feel the sequels needed a lot more humour to make it worth watching, but they are still watchable (if that’s a compliment).