Taken 3

Rated 2.0

Released in 2008 just as Bush II's term was winding down, the Pierre Morel-directed Taken set Liam Neeson's angry father and his “special set” of torture tactics loose on the leering Eurotrash sleazeballs who kidnapped his daughter. It was idiotic but irresistible, a timely vision of the Ugly American unleashed abroad, and it started a new leading-man phase in Neeson's career. The competent Morel was replaced on 2012's Taken 2 by fellow Frenchman and Luc Besson disciple Olivier Megaton, who couldn't direct his way out of a paper bag without changing screen direction 17 times. Megaton returns for Taken 3, and while the film is slightly more watchable than Taken 2, the franchise hook of Neeson's righteous American flouting international law in order to “protect his family” is ditched in favor of a more familiar whodunit—the only thing “taken” here is the plot to almost every episode of Murder, She Wrote.