Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills character didn’t kill his wife — and the cops don’t care. Sound familiar? No, it’s not a reboot of 1993’s The Fugitive, it’s Taken 3. Seriously, this ex-CIA agent truly wants to live a normal life: As seen in the trailer, he’s likes to cook dinner for the family, evident in his chopping of vegetables. He buys jumbo carnival-stuffed panda bears for his teenage daughter. However, somewhere between clinking wine glasses with his wife (Famke Janssen) and possibly leaving a stew on the stove, she winds up mysteriously dead in the bedroom. But as Mills warns his daughter, “There are things I’ve done in my life.” Meaning, no matter how easy Mills tries to take life in the states, he’s always on some crazed foreign terrorist’s watch list; getting framed or tortured. As fun as it is to watch Neeson, 62, run around, clock and snipe; the fear from a fan’s p.o.v. is whether the actor is on a downward slope into Nicolas Cage Z grade shoot ’em-up-land — a place where Neeson need not tread given his prestige career turns in Schindler’s List and Kinsey. It sounds like Neeson might be ready to move on: He’s been telling the media that this is his last Taken. Neeson’s latest, A Walk Among the Tombstones, is a smart noirish thriller showcasing the actor’s sublime acting; heads above his standard gun-and-run films. But Tombstones was sold like one of his actioners and is getting buried at the fall B.O., charting 7th last weekend with a two-week total stateside cume of $20M (meaning audiences might have also moved on as well). Nonetheless, Taken is a particular Teflon brand by itself with the franchise grossing $603M worldwide over two installments with the second outstripping the first globally, $376.1M to $226.8M. Fox is releasing Europa Corp’s Taken 3 on Jan. 9.
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