Ex-government operative Bryan Mills is accused of a ruthless murder he never committed or witnessed. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 109/115 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Leland Orser
Directed by: Olivier Megaton
Music by: Nathaniel Mechaly
Written by: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 21, 2015
"It ends here"
The hunter becomes the hunted when Liam Neeson returns as former CIA operative Bryan Mills, who finds himself framed for the brutal murder of his ex-wife (Famke Janssen). Consumed with rage, and pursued by a savvy police inspector (Forest Whitaker), Mills must rely on his “particular set of skills” one last time to find the real killers, clear his name, and protect the only thing that matters to him now — his daughter (Maggie Grace).
In Taken we watched Bryan Mills stop at nothing to save his daughter Kim from disappearing forever at the hands of kidnappers seeking to sell her into sex slavery.
Taken 2 picked up two years later when the father of one of the villains Bryan killed swears revenge, and takes him and his ex-wife “Lenny” hostage in Istanbul. Without his weapons and the assistance of his former CIA support staff Bryan must enlist and rely on the only person he can if they hope to survive, his daughter Kim. Bryan then employs his unique tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers, one by one.
I liked Taken. It’s not profound filmmaking but it drew upon our inherent ruthlessness when faced with the prospect of protecting a loved one. As a father with a teenage daughter I easily identified with Bryan’s raw sense of emotion and unrelenting determination. The script did an nice job of conveying the relationships necessary to the plot and later ramping up the action. It was kick-butt action coupled along with a decent story and strong central character.
Taken 2 was just plain silly so when I saw that a third installment was forthcoming I didn’t hold out much hope. Taken 3 doesn’t approach the raw, visceral and engaging fun of the original however it is better than the second installment. The problem here is a simple one, repetition. This is simply a rehashing of what we have seen from the franchise before. There are one or two minor tweaks and an attempt at a twist but at the end of the day it’s Bryan and his particular set of skills against insurmountable odds in defense of those he loves.
Truth be told, I like the character and Liam Neeson’s portrayal of him so watching Taken 3 wasn’t too difficult. Outside of Neeson, Maggie Grace and Dougray Scott there wasn’t much for the other members of the cast to do, other than take their lumps and/or chase the three of them around. I would say that the Taken franchise is getting a bit long in the tooth. I can’t see another entry unless there is a reworking of the narrative threads that move away from the character having to constantly defend his daughter from world class bad guys.
Both the theatrical and unrated versions are included with the latter adding approximately 6 minutes to the original’s runtime.
Both versions of the film contain intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Taken 3 comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.
This is an excellent video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, bold use of contrast, natural colors and excellent dimension. Blacks are punchy with good dynamic range and discernible gradational highlights. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable depth. Images are snappy, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material. Any softening is innate and strictly limited to the film’s visual style.
This Lossless DTS-HD MA surround mix makes regular use of the entire system to drive the film’s elements. This is a well-balanced and fairly active soundtrack that augments the thematic impact associated with the films action and music score. The surround channels are sporadically engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience. Dynamic range is extended and accents the high level of sonic detail present in the recording. I never had any trouble discerning subtle vocal inflections or the presence of low level sounds that were contained in the background. The mix facilitates natural integration of the front and rear channels which creates a stable and well-proportioned listening experience that is complimented by rich bass that has good palpability and tight extension. My only complaint is that the volume of the mix appeared lower than usual. This required an 8db to 10db increase over my normal listening levels.
- Theatrical and Unrated versions of Taken 3
- (HD) Deleted scene
- (HD) Sam’s bunker AKA “The Rabbit Hole” – An interactive look at the operative items used by Brian in the film
- (HD) Taken to L.A. – 4 minute production featurette
- (HD) A Taken legacy – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Gallery
- (HD) Theatrical Trailer
- Digital HD Copy
Taken 3 is third installment in the Taken film series that started with the 2008 original, a top notch action flick that kicks butt and takes no prisoners. While better than the second film this effort fails to capture the freshness of the original and is more or less a rehashing that does little to distinguish itself. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and a middling supplemental package that includes both versions of the film, interactive content and a few production featurettes. If you are a fan of the original Taken 3 is probably worth checking out on Blu-ray. Be sure to rent first and keep expectations in check.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package