Do a Shot: every time someone is “taken” (kidnapped, arrested, or held hostage).
Take a Drink: for each shot during an action sequence that lasts longer than two seconds (a Hawk Ripjaw-approved DD variant).
Take a Drink: for every destroyed vehicle.
Do a Shot: whenever the movie makes cops look like idiots/scumbags.
Chug Your Drink: BAGELS
By: Hawk Ripjaw (Five Beers) –
At the beginning of Tak3n, somebody gets taken.
That’s right, motherfucker! You thought you were free of that shit from the first two movies, right? Wrong! While there is no major movie-spanning rescue mission considering the taken man gets murdered like right away, it does set up an evil Russian villain who is owed money by someone very rich. Let’s call him Murder Boner Jones, because he totally had one when he was fighting Bryan in nothing but a Speedo towards the end of the movie.
Meanwhile, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) still doesn’t have a damn clue how to be a dad so he buys a giant stuffed panda bear for his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who is pregnant but doesn’t want to tell him. Ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen), who is still a useless, tearful sack of emotion, is even more miserable with her current husband Stuart ever since he magically transformed from Xander Berkley into Dougray Scott and is characterized so differently he might as well be a different character.
We’ve also got a detective played by Forest Whitaker, playing more or less the exact same character he plays in every movie where he’s a cop, except this time his plays with a rubber band, twiddles a chess piece between his fingers, and fucking loves bagels. I cannot possibly overstate this man’s insatiable obsession with bagels. He loves bagels so much that they actually form the crux of one of his major breakthroughs in the case.
So Lenore is still married to Stuart, but she is back in love with Bryan. They don’t do anything because he’s honorable. “Why do you have to be so honorable?” asks Lenore. Later, Stuart asks Bryan to stop seeing Lenore. Lenore texts Bryan, asking if they can get bagels at his apartment. He leaves to get bagels, and when he returns Lenore is dead on his bed, her throat cut, and cops are closing. Bryan goes on the run with Forest Whitaker and his men in hot pursuit. The rest of the movie is Bryan outsmarting everyone.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen an action movie in a while, or perhaps after an hour of pure shit I was just getting less critical, but there’s a halfway-decent fight in a liquor store that features dudes getting bottles thonked against their heads, thrown through glass doors, and shot at through shelves. And the climax where Bryan races to save his daughter shockingly has the camera pull back a little bit and adds some tension with the way it’s edited.
And of course, Liam Neeson. The man has so much charisma (even if does appear worn out here) that it still manages to elevate the movie.
Yes, Megaton is getting better at directing movies, but he’s still a long way off from being “good.” Apart from the marginally well-shot liquor store fight and the climax, the rest of the movie is a headache-inducing mess. The action cinematography would make Paul Greengrass nauseous. It’s like Megaton and his editor take even a simple scene involving Bryan entering a secret hideout, look at the screen and say “If I don’t get a new angle in less than a second, I’m going to fucking kill myself.” Seriously, Bryan gets down into his subterranean hideout, and in less than a minute we get a shot of stairs, a shot of a fan, a shot of the room from behind the fan, a table, a shot of the table from the corner of the room, a shot from the ceiling, a shot under the stairs, and probably half a dozen more. It’s almost as bad as the trademark “revelation” sequences at the end of the Saw movies. Make this beer an extra strong one for the hopeless neutering of the action down to a tame PG-13.
Maybe it would have been better to have Bryan go on another daughter-rescuing killing spree, because the half-baked Fugitive ripoff we get instead is arguably worse. I’m not even going to begin to defend any of the logic of the original, but it was so lean and simple you didn’t have much to worry about. Tak3n attempts to inject a series of plot twists and intrigue, but they’re all so rudimentary that you can pretty much predict exactly what a twist is going to be way before the movie even lays the groundwork for that twist to happen. You’ll know exactly who the secret twist villain is within moments of the movie’s plot being set out.
It also makes things ridiculously complicated. Bryan needs to secretly talk to Kim, so he uses his knowledge of a weird quirk she has of visiting the same corner store every day to purchase the exact same yogurt drink exactly five spaces back from the front to put a sticky note on the yogurt saying “drink me now” so that she’ll drink the yogurt, in which he has put something to make her feel nauseous, so that she’ll run to the bathroom where he’s waiting to talk to her.
There are invincible action heroes. Then there is Houdini. Then there is Bryan “WTF” Mills, who escapes from impossible scrapes with no explanation as to how. I’m talking reversing a police car down an elevator shaft, almost immediately after which said car causes an explosion that rips apart eight stories of police station. Bryan is then shown talking on a pay phone. Elsewhere, Bryan’s car is plowed off of a cliff, where it rolls a few times and then inexplicably blows up. Seconds later, Bryan is actually back at the top of the cliff. This is explained, but the explanation makes even less sense.
There are some extremely funny moments in Tak3n. The problem with this is that you’re never 100% sure whether the movie is actually in on the joke. From some odd one-liners (which were probably intentional) to some just completely random shots (which probably were not intentional), there are moments of hilarity there that don’t really get close to something like Winter’s Tale, but it gets pretty close to Left Behind.
I just realized something. I kind of enjoyed Tak3n. But not because it was good, well-made or even competent as an action movie. It’s sort of charming when you start to wonder how much stupider the movie can get. Add the hilarious dialogue and ridiculous little quirks/ineptitudes in the action sequences, and you have yet another classic MovieBoozer “so bad it’s hilarious” movie.