Home Page > Movies Index > Action | Thriller > Movie Review

Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

No Rest For the Weary

Taken 3

Plot Overview

The movie opens with a helicopter shot of nighttime L.A., followed by a quiet home invasion. The invaders offer the resident a dog collar and signal him to yell to his wife upstairs that he's taking the mutt out for a walk. They bring him with them to his own office. “Nice office. Nice family [photos]”, they tell him. “Your boss owes me money,” they say and have him open the walk-in safe … that turns out to be empty. After phoning their boss Oleg Malankov (Sam Spruell) for instructions, they march him into the safe and shoot him, entombing him as “a reminder.”

Now it's dawn and another man Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is seen purchasing a giant stuffed panda that he delivers to apartment 345 where we see a young woman his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) in the bath­room squinting at a pregnancy test. He rings her bell and explains that he brought her present over early, three days before her birth­day, because he wanted to surprise her, her life other­wise being so predict­able. It is evident this is not the only surprise she got that morning, and that her life has acquired a new unpredict­able element as she was not prepared for the test results, is undecided what to do. He steps out leaving her and her partner Jimmy to themselves.

Next Bryan has a tête à tête with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) about their daughter (“When did she grow up, Lenore?”), their continued feelings for each other (“I love you”), and her current marriage to Bryan's friend Stuart St. John (Dougray Scott) leaving their situation “confused.” Bryan then is seen playing golf with his cronies. Next he's seen meeting Kim in a restaurant, who has some­thing to tell him, needing his advice.

As she's about to spill the beans, a kid starts bawling in the back­ground, and Bryan remarks, “That is going to be serious trouble in a few years. Mark my word.” Then he asks Kim what she wanted advice on? Kim temporizes saying she's thinking of getting a puppy. Bryan advises it's “a lot of work, a lot of responsi­bility.” She should consider her work schedule and her school. It's “no different from having a kid,” he says. Well, she got the advice she wanted.

Some unknown villains murder Lenore and set Bryan up to take the blame. The police nab him, but he escapes (“Suspect's gone”) and briefs his espionage cronies that he's “going down the rabbit hole” to find who's responsible. LAPD Inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) chews on some bagels and puts some officers on tailing the daughter as their best hope of catching their suspect. She shakes them easily, and the spies watching behind the scenes remark, “These guys could lose a tail if it was on a dog!”


If we follow Kim's imaginary puppy to the ghost dog the bookkeeper walks, it's easy enough to imagine his death in the womb of the office safe as an abortion of the puppy in a nice family-friendly office. Since the two lines of plot are inter­twined, Kim's options get played out meta­phoric­ally in the action sequences. Her dad's escape “down the rabbit hole” from the womb of a locked garage would represent a mis­car­riage, where the puppy just disappears. His quiet exit from the womb of Lenore's car in which he down­loads the GPS data before the detectives get there would represent an easy natural delivery. Lenore's abduction into the womb of an isolated van where she gets her throat slit would represent a back-alley abortion. Bryan's capture in the security room viewing the monitor would represent an assisted birth as in a hospital with all its monitors. His borrowing a police cruiser leading to a massive pileup would represent the adoption option. His slipping out of a car the bad guys were pushing down a cliff would represent a C-section where the (car) body suffers violence but not the occupant. And his riding a car down an elevator shaft would represent a regular delivery down the birth canal.

For all of Kim's seeking her dad's advice, and for him viscerally living out the various options, he settles with, “What­ever you decide, the two of you, I'll support you 100%.” It would seem that this movie is pro-choice. But then when Bryan fingers the culprit for the police but is about to administer instant justice him­self, Kim stops him (“Dad …”) making the movie right-to-life. Since “Taken 3” came out on January 9, and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is Jan. 22, I figure the movie is capitalizing on the angst that it caused with­out alienating either side of the debate. Figures. It might also be convenient for Kim to have the baby for grandpa to rescue in a future “Taken 4.”

The concern of how completing her term might interfere with her work schedule and schooling mimics the very wording in Roe v. Wade. The Justices, how­ever, said the life of the fetus would take precedence over the mother's incon­venience if the fetus could be shown to be a person. Roe v. Wade, a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion was based on a woman's right to privacy, but “The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy … does exist under the Constitution” (Roe v. Wade 230), found in its “penumbra” (225–6). Neither does “The Constitution … define ‘person’ in so many words. But in nearly all [references to ‘person’ in the Constitution], the use of the word is such that it has application only post­natally” (ibid). But what about in the Constitution's penumbra? In the debate about an amendment proposed by Benjamin Franklin about remuneration for Congress­men, he wrote: “There is a natural inclin­ation in man­kind to a kingly govern­ment. … If we do make our posts of honor places of profit, I fear that … it will only nourish the fetus of a king” (68–71). He's not “honoring” a non-person here. In “Taken 3” the party that took out a million dollar life insurance policy on the deceased shortly before she was murdered became a person of interest.

From a philosophical perspective it's impossible to prove the negative, that person as used in the U.S. Constitution could not be applied prenatally, and in fact it was applied so in the writings of Benjamin Franklin pertaining to remuneration of persons of the House of Representatives, found now in Article I, Section 6.

The Judges declined to settle on when person­hood begins since philosophers and theologians are not them­selves in agreement. This movie simplifies the issues from their legal counter­parts by symbolizing the fetus with a “puppy” or an adult or two. To what extent is a human fetus a person like one of those adults or a tissue mass like a dog or a puppy? And even if it is a person, to what extent would it deserve extinction like the bad guys who admitted they deserved death? It's beyond the purview of this movie reviewer to answer those questions.

The biblical Prov. 30:21-23 says that the very fabric of the Earth gets out of whack for: undeserved advance­ment, easy money, an unlovable wife, and misdirected inheritance. “Taken 3” capitalizes on all four of those factors to wind the tension tight. The bad guys killed the messenger, the “boss” had a murderous scheme to get him­self off the hook financially, Bryan's ex-wife Lenore was of a “confused” status, and there's the possibility of naming Kim's baby after her mom, if it's a girl. This movie plays the tension to the hilt.

Production Values

“Taken 3” (2015) was directed by Olivier Mégaton. The screenplay & character development were by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. It stars Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace. Neeson gives his expected star performance, and Grace was impressively intense. It's the director's fault that the wonder­ful actors Neeson and Whitaker weren't allowed to ad-lib more, to make an admittedly excellent script seem more their own words. The director also didn't seem to have a grasp of action shots, to make the action easier to follow, not just jerky. A nice touch, though, was the soft Japanese music playing in the other room when Kim read her pregnancy test result, a critical non-action moment.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief strong language. The R rated material of “Taken” and “Taken 2” was toned down with PG material to ensure more people see the film.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I just eat this intense action stuff up, and this one seemed to have added a subdued subplot that only furthered the tension. It did seem miraculous that Bryan regularly escapes unscathed from fusil­lades of automatic fire in an enclosed space, but that's Holly­wood. Some­how the world seems a safer place with men like him protecting their loved ones. If you like this series, this one won't disappoint.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: three and a half stars out of five.

Works Cited

Franklin, Benjamin. The Writings of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Albert Henry Smyth. 10 vols. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1905–7, pp. 592–93, 595, as quoted in W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World. USA: National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2009. Print.

Roe v. Wade. referenced in Wallace Mendelson, The American Constitution and the Judicial Process. Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press, 1980. Print.