Who’s Getting Tak3n in the Brand-New Trailer for ‘Tak3n’? A Running Diary

Is it trailer Christmas already? It’s almost as if the nice folks at 20th Century Fox, angered that Inherent Vice was sucking up all the trailer-worship oxygen for the past 15 or so hours, said “Screw that arty-farty crap, it’s time for us to take back Tuesday. Release the Nees3n!”

And thus the first official trailer for Tak3n was dropped into the laps of a vengeance-thirsty public, who not two short weekends ago roundly rejected the off-brand Liam Neeson Killing People vehicle on offer, because the people know to accept no Liam Neeson Killing People substitutes. Give us the franchise. Take someone else who Liam Neeson loves. Roll the body-count meter to zero and let ’er rip.

There’s much to unpack here. A running diary seems the only sane way to handle the task at hand.

0:02 OK, so who’s getting taken? Smart money is on the first person they show. Bad news, Famke! You looked so happy for about five seconds. Maybe they’ll be gentle about it.


0:10 Or will they take the giant panda bear? Neeson looks pretty happy about that bear; he might be willing to kill repeatedly over its safe return.

0:15 “Kim doing OK?” No, it’s not going to be Kim. We’ve been through this with Kim.

0:21 “Honey? … Honey?” Uh-oh. Kitchen knife and pool of blood on the floor. We have our winner.

0:24 Dead wife. We knew it had to be the wife. Because in Tak1n, it was his daughter. In Tak2n: Re2pect for My Special Skills, it was Neeson himself who was taken. There was only one more possibility in his immediate family. The inevitability of the reveal doesn’t make it any less powerful, except for the fact that he might feel like he’s better off without her — she was a little cruel to him in the first movie, custody-wise. He probably hasn’t forgotten that. (Unknown was the one where he forgot things.)

So: It’s the ultimate taking, with no possibility of a take-back. Barring a trip to the underworld and a thrilling shootout on Charon’s boat.

0:26 Hey, who called the cops already? His wife’s been dead for like two seconds? Is this a setup?

0:27 “I didn’t do this.” It’s a setup! And Neeson has been taken to The Fugitive.


0:36 Those cops are probably fine. Handcuffed to each others’ genitals and stunned about how a 60-year-old murder suspect incapacitated them so easily, but fine.

0:39 Lotta cops, lotta cops.

0:42 And playing the Tommy Lee Jones Memorial Skeptical Lawman Who Will Eventually Be Convinced of His Suspect’s Innocence After a Grueling Manhunt and at Least One Face-to-Face Encounter Where He Looks the Other Way to Give His Cornered Quarry One Last Chance to Clear His Name is … Forest Whitaker!


0:43 And now the Reading of the Résumé: “At 21, he joins the Army. At 23, he joins the Special Forces. He is a trained sniper. And explosives expert. No service record, no discharge record, nothing. This guy right here, he knows how to disappear.”

0:43 to 1:00 Montage illustrating each of these special skills, ending in Neeson dropping into a sewer tunnel. They should have had someone monitoring the sewer tunnel.

1:06 The signature phone call to another imperiled loved one with anti-taking instructions, a franchise staple: “Something terrible has happened to your mom. Don’t trust anyone. Look behind you. In your rearview mirror. There will be a man driving a late-model BMW, with an invalid California plate. Do not trust him, either. He is trying to take you. Kill him with his bullshit license plate.”

1:11 Famke’s funeral. She is being taken underground. The absent Neeson sends her favorite flowers with a note: “I am sorry they took you. I tried. You were already dead when I got there.”

1:12 “There are things I’ve done in my life. And I was always ready to face the consequences. To protect my family.” No, Neeson, no! It’s not your fault! You were just doing your Army/Special Forces/Off-the-Books-Human-Murder-Machine job(s).

1:20 Low-grade convenience story ass-kicking. Near-subliminal product placement for A&W, Stella Artois, and Monster Energy Drink.

1:26 First contact with the Taker: “What do you know?”

“What I know is that soon everyone you love will be dead.”

The stakes are clear. But it is the Taker who soon will be dead.

1:32 “What is your first priority here, Inspector?”

“My job is to bring you in. You saw The Fugitive.”

“My first priority is to protect the only one I have left. My useless daughter. You saw the first Taken; what a waste of private singing lessons. Still, I must protect her.”

1:37 Neeson kills — or maybe just incapacitates? Nah, he explodes their dark hearts with righteous electricity  two bad guys with a defibrillator. 1


1:40 “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to finish this.” Translation: kill everybody from this moment until the end credits roll. And then start killing everyone in the credits, one by one.

1:50 What agencies are going to come for him? The LAPD, the FBI, the CIA. All of them. They’ll find him and stop him. (They will find him but not stop him.)

1:57 No idea what’s going on here with the machine gun. Is he forcing that guy to fire it with his face?


1:59 We have the budget left over for a car flip! Let’s flip some cars!


2:01 “Good luck. Being dead. By me. That was insincere. I wish you nothing but death. You lose my dry tone over AT&T, the service is terrible.”


“Roll credits. A Frenchman directed this. I chose him for his incredible name. See you in January, when I kill you.”

Filed Under: Movies, tak3n, Liam Neeson, taken, Trailers, Forrest Whitaker

Mark Lisanti is an editor at Grantland.

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