A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Taken 3 is star Liam Neeson's "threequel" to the successful Taken and Taken 2. The violence is mainly bloodless, but there's a lot of it, including tons of shooting, fighting, guns, chasing, smashing cars, and explosions, plus some torture and war flashbacks. Main characters die, violence against women is shown, and a character being held at gunpoint grabs the gun, pushes it into mouth, and pulls the trigger. Language is infrequent, with a few uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," etc. Kissing is shown, including a woman who kisses her ex-husband while she's still married to someone else. (She tells him she "fantasizes about us.") A man is shown with two bikini-clad women in a tub, and champagne and cigars are on display.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Poor Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is in trouble again. He's getting along well with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), and is slowly rebuilding a relationship with his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen). But then he receives a mysterious message from Lenore and arrives to find her murdered, with Bryan looking like the prime suspect. He must disappear, using his particular set of skills to find the real murderer -- and all the while a clever police detective (Forest Whitaker) is on his trail. Things get even worse when Bryan realizes that, in fact, Kim is in danger once again.
Is it any good?
Neeson appears to have grown comfortable with Bryan Mills, wearing the character like a broken-in old pair of shoes -- but only when he's relating to other humans. When TAKEN 3's action scenes kick in, as they do at an increasing rate, the movie becomes sludge. The movements, angles, and editing turn everything into a jumble, and poor Neeson can't accomplish much of anything.
A nice addition to the series is Oscar-winner Whitaker as wise, clever police detective Franck Dotzler (maybe the next sequel could be about him?). But many of the other cast members appear to be stuck in their roles, as if either unsure of what to do next without giving away the many feeble plot twists, or very simply bored. Olivier Megaton (Taken 2) directs again, and from the movie's flagging energy level, it appears as if he, too, is ready to retire this series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Taken 3's violence. How much is shown, and how much is kept off screen? How does that affect its impact? How does this installment compare to the other two in terms of violence?
How does the movie raise the stakes by placing Bryan's daughter in jeopardy? What's the emotional impact of that situation?
Talk about the ethical and moral lines that characters cross in the movie. Are Bryan's violent actions justified by the movie?
How are Europeans and Americans portrayed in the movie? Which characters are sympathetic? What are their goals?
- In theaters: January 9, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: April 21, 2015
- Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
- Director: Olivier Megaton
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief strong language
For kids who love action and thrillers
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.