Liam Neeson probably could not have guessed, when he first hired on to portray retired CIA agent Bryan Mills in 2008’s Taken, that he would be applying his “particular set of skills” to a franchise spanning three movies, six years, and so many kidnappings that even the most diligent critics probably lost count of them. Despite or perhaps because of the qualms of critics, the quasi-fascist film was one of Neeson’s biggest hits without the words Star Wars in the title, and suddenly, the actor was a late-blooming action star. Now, the experts at Burger Fiction (“We make videos about movies”) have helpfully condensed the entire Taken trilogy, which runs about five blood-spattered hours, into a mere 90 seconds of nearly undiluted violence with only the slightest of nods to plot and/or character.
To watch the Taken trilogy reduced to its core elements for a minute and a half is the cinematic equivalent of being pistol whipped, repeatedly and thoroughly, by someone who knows how and takes pride in their work. Most of the clips here focus on acts of swift, decisive violence committed by Neeson against various human traffickers and gangsters, generally of Albanian and Russian extraction. The British-born actor punches, kicks, and shoots his way through sequence after sequence, while a clock in the lower-right-hand corner keeps track of the seconds ticking by. The movies are largely interchangeable, so the only way to tell when one film ends and the other begins is when Neeson is allowed a few precious seconds of respite. Then it’s right back to kicking ass.