I should caveat this entry a little bit by noting that I fell asleep during some key points of this film, including the final fight scene. That also might give you a good overall view of the film, for sure.
I love bad action films, but admit that I do have a floor for just how bad I’ll tolerate — I can’t watch “Transformers” or “G.I. Joe” movies, and I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to watch superhero movies. That’s important here because as bad as “Tak3n” was, I have no regrets about watching it and it easily stayed above that baseline. We could go on and on how about how bad “Tak3n” is, but I’d like to think we could be more constructive. Let’s talk about how things could be better.
No one needs to see Bryan Mills be a green beret/special forces bad ass anymore, right? I’m not talking Liam Neeson here, I’ll still see other entries in his action film renaissance with very little guilt or hesitation. But Bryan? We get it. You do this for a living — when your golf buddies talk about the jobs they want you to pull, those jobs are where you should be a bad ass with the gun and the smartness and all that stuff, and those jobs are the stuff we see in the other Liam Neeson movies. The “Taken” franchise is where you learn to be a bad ass with a family, right? I’d love for the next movie to only focus on how weird and out of touch Bryan is with (what’s left of) his family. Let’s see more of the guy who shops for his daughter’s birthday at a place that sells, like, crude Chinese toy knockoffs of American franchises. You know, unlicensed stuffed Minion and Lightnin’ McQueen toys that are made with materials that give kids leukemia and stuff. The kind of shop where you can buy a gigantic stuffed panda for your 20-something/might be pregnant/living with her boyfriend daughter and think it’s all a good idea. Right? I mean, if we need to keep seeing Bryan Mills eff up his daughter’s birthday (remember when he forced her to open a boombox or whatever at the same birthday party that her stepdad gave her a championship bloodline racehorse?), then let’s really get into it! I found myself loving that stuff more, the clueless dad is so much more interesting to me now than the secret agent dad who rescues his family. Mills one-ups his father-daughter moment in this movie by poisoning her and waiting in the public restroom for her to have to rush in with diarrhea so he can talk to her! More of this, please!
The other thing I really liked in this movie was how clueless the police were. I think I’m spoiled by the action movie trope of the cop who realizes that the framed suspect doesn’t pass the smell test, because I kept waiting for Forrest Whitaker(!) to have that mind-blown moment where he puts together all the super obvious evidence and starts trying to help fight crime or whatever. But instead this is a guy who sits down in the apartment where a grizzly murder just took place, grabs the bag of still warm bagels and instead of thinking “still warm…he got these bagels and then immediately murdered someone? That just doesn’t add up!” … just starts eating the bagels! Later he goes to the bagel shop itself, and you think “oh, of course, he’s putting together the complicated puzzle of Bryan Mills now” but instead … he’s just like “goddamn, those bagels were so good! I gotta craving!” I really want to see a spinoff series where Whitaker plays a food blogger who discovers new foods and restaurants on the job. They can call it “Takeout” or something, right? Please?