Despite reinventing Liam Neeson as a late-career badass, which quickly snowballed into his unlikely ascent to becoming one of the most popular and bankable action heroes in the industry, the Taken franchise never found much favor with critics.
In fact, the first installment’s 59% Rotten Tomatoes score is much higher than that of the two sequels combined, but Neeson’s third and final outing as throat-punching enthusiast Bryan Mills made one single unforgivable sin that cut the legs right from under Taken 3.
We are of course talking about the PG-13 rating, which the studio insisted on despite the backlash and poor reception that greeted The Expendables 3 making the exact same call the previous summer, and the shrug of indifference towards the threequel doubled down on the sentiment that fans don’t want to see the elder statesmen of ass-kicking watered down.
Then again, Disney Plus subscribers in certain territories clearly enjoy some sanitized running and gunning, with FlixPatrol revealing the monotonous bore of a film has charted on the platform’s global most-watched list.
Taken 3 did earn $326 million at the box office, though, but it took an absolute pasting from critics and audiences alike. Hacked to pieces in the editing suite to remove excess violence, there is some unintentional hilarity to be enjoyed from the constant smash cuts used to disguise Neeson’s obvious distaste for running on camera, but everything else is utterly meritless.