SAY WHAT YOU WILL about Hollywood, those people are very good at making sequels that utterly fail to capture what people liked about the first one. It's almost a gift. Taken 2 had less energy, action, and butt-kicking than its predecessor, and now Tak3n drags the trilogy to a lethargic conclusion with a plot that screams, “We didn't just want to kidnap the daughter again, but we didn't know what else to do! And we couldn't just, you know, not make a third one. We HAD to!” That, verbatim, is what the plot screams.

Again directed by comically pseudonymed French goofus Olivier Megaton, with another dimwitted screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, this chapter sees Liam Neeson's particular-set-of-skills-having Bryan Mills framed—for murder! Rather than show the police all the evidence that exonerates him (including one instance where it's literally on a computer screen right in front of them), Mills goes on the lam to find the real killer, all while trying to protect his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) from the lumpy-faced European bad guys. In the hunt for fugitive Mills, Forest Whitaker plays a police detective who keeps one eye on Kim, the other on something in the opposite corner of the room.

The mindlessly amusing violence of the first movie has been disappointingly toned down. Neeson hardly even kills anyone this time! Nobody really gets taken, either, which seems like a serious betrayal of the audience's trust. Sure, you’ll get a kick out of some of Mills' elaborate methods of hiding, surveilling, and manipulating, but that only takes you so far. Mostly, you’ll get the sense that this intentionally superficial character and premise have been stretched out much further than they were ever meant to be stretched.