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Taken 3

original title: Tak3n

Comparison:

  • Theatrical Version
  • Unrated Extended Cut
Release: May 17, 2015 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB

Yes, a new Neeson flick has almost become a stereotype for euphoric fans of revenge thrillers. At least within the Taken franchise which came out of nowhere and filled the audience with enthusiasm. The second installment went down like a lead ballon, though. That is why lots of people were appropiately suspicious about the third and allegedly last installment of the franchise which takes place in the US. This time, Bryan Mills is not the hunter but the hunted.

For Liam Neeson, almost 60 years old, it is probably one of the last characters he plays that require such physical action. Neeson himself said that his unexpected path as an action star, he continued going down with further action flicks such as The A-Team, Unknown, Non-Stop and Run All Night, would come to an end in 2 or 3 years. Since he has already proven to be an excellent character actor as well, there is no need to fear a lack of attractive offers in the future.

Certainly, he can't hide his age even now. And there is probably no better "bad" director than Olivier Megaton to hide that fact. Megaton already directed the first sequel Taken 2 and his recipe is rather simple: in the editing room, he makes Neeson look agile and incredibly quick so that nobody would have the slightest doubt that Neeson's younger opponents stand any chance against him. Perhaps Steven Seagal should make an attempt to get Megaton as the director for his vehicles, as well.

Also worth mentioning is that Taken 3 (or Tak3n, as clever marketing people named the third installment) is much better than the second one - especially narrative-wise. But let's be honest, this picture was only made because the studio wanted to make a fast buck one more time and they succeeded. With a budget of approx. $48 million, the picture made $325 million worldwide. The outstanding original could have been what it is on its own but that is not how it works.

"You can't always get what you want" is a motto the Taken fans always had to deal with because each and every single installment was shown in movie theaters with a PG-13 rating and this is the version shown in almost every movie theater worldwide. That some heavy editing was required in order to reach that goal was perfectly illustrated by the first and second installment (comparison for Taken, comparison for Taken 2). But it is also obvious that Taken 3 is the one with the biggest ambition of getting a PG-13 from the very beginning. While one could recognize the PG-13 alterations almost every second in the original, many confrontations now are so frantic and with such a lack of detail that there is not much left to censor. Besides a few censored dialogues, retouched blood trails in faces and on body parts strike the eye. And in the grand finale, it gets really obscure - as cinemagoers surely have noticed. Other than that, most of the differences regard story elements which make the longest installment of the entire franchise even longer. Obviously, these scenes were cut for pace reasons but if one wants to watch the picture uncensored, these scenes belong in the picture but most people won't be bothered by that.

As a matter of fact, the censored PG-13 version required further alterations in order to get the BBFC 12A rating for its theatrical release in the UK. But people on that lovely island can catch a breath, the UK Blu-ray contains the Unrated Version.

Compared are the Theatrical Version (PG-13) and the Unrated Version (both available on the US Blu-ray by 20th Century Fox).

45 differences, consisting of:

19 extended scenes
16 scenes with alternate footage
  6 extended scenes with alternate footage
  3 scenes with alternate dialog
  1 additional scene

The Unrated Version is 362.88 seconds resp. approx. 6 minutes 3 seconds longer than the Theatrical Version.

Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
0:00:47: The scene with the account, who gets surprised in his house by Maxim and his goons and abducted silently without the wife noticing, is longer in the Unrated Version. There are intercuts to the woman in the bathroom plus the account takes more time to get downstairs. Outside by the car, we get to see one of Maxim's men waiting plus a short additional shot of the dead dog in the trunk. This is not censorship though.
Unrated 29.44 Sec. longer



Alternate Footage
0:04:00: In the Unrated Version, the GSW in the account's chest is bloody.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
0:04:02: Almost the same when his body sliding down the wall: there is blood splatter behind him. The Theatrical Version is clean.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Extended Scene
0:08:45: Timmy starts kissing Kim but she is too dizzy and says she needed a moment.
12.64 sec



Extended Scene
0:09:06: Bryan tells the huge guy to buckle up.
2.48 sec



Additional Scene
0:10:06: Kim again. She desperately contemplates. How will her super dad take the news about her pregnancy? Don't worry, Kim. He is not going to abduct your baby.
7.2 sec



Extended Scene
0:10:15: The panda again in the Unrated Version.
1.28 sec

Alternate Footage
0:13:07: In the Unrated Version, Lenore grabs her bag but she leaves a scarf behind. There is no such thing in the Theatrical Version.
Unrated 0.28 Sec. longer

Alternate Footage
0:16:24: When Stuart is sitting on the couch, he discoveres Leonore's scarf she left behind in the Unrated Version. There is no such thing in the Unrated Version. Instead, we get to watch Bryan make some coffee.
Unrated 8 sec longer


Extended Scene
0:29:16: The Unrated Version contains a longer shot of Bryan walking across the hallways. In the Theatrical Version, his way down to the basement is not that long.
Unrated 15.08 sec longer



Extended Scene
0:30:59: Kim asks Dotzler to get the people out of her dead mother's bedroom. He is understanding and does as she asks.
22.6 Sec.



Extended Scene
0:42:52: A cop gets a phone call that Bryan has been arrested. Then he goes to Dotzler's office. Cut from the Theatrical Version simply for pace reasons.
5.64 sec


Extended Scene
0:47:34: The car chase is longer.
6.84 sec



Extended Scene
0:47:44: Same here.
2.88 sec

Extended Scene
0:47:48: Trivial.
0.56 sec


Extended Scene
0:50:26: Swearing in the Unrated which would have caused problems for the PG-13 rating.

Dotzler: "Why does he want us to have this?"
Garcia: "He fucked up."
Dotzler: "This guy doesn't fuck up."
7.24 sec



Alternate Dialog
0:51:10: When Sam sums up the chaos Bryan caused, the Theatrical Version lacks the F-bomb. It has been deleted from the audio track while it is still there in the Unrated Version.

Sam: "Hey, let me guess. Pileup on the 710 North. Massive clusterfuck of police vehicles 15 miles headed south."
no difference



Extended Scene
0:56:58: Trivially longer shot of Kim on her way to the grocery store.
4.16 sec


Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
1:08:14: When Bryan is chased in his car by Maxim and one of his goons, the scene is longer in the Unrated Version. There are several shots of speeding cars. When Bryan's car goes down the hillside, it simply explodes in the Theatrical Version. In the Unrated Version on the other hand, Maxim tosses a granade on the wrecked car and then the detonation follows.
Unrated 29.32 sec longer



Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
1:09:59: In both versions, Bryan stops the jeep driver and threatens him with his weapon. He needs a ride and takes the wheel. The scene is distinctly shorter in the Theatrical Version and when they stop at the grocery store, he tells the driver he could leave now. In the Unrated Version, Bryan has a conversation with the guy. His name is Mike and he has two little children. Bryan gives him the advice not to miss a single day with them because they had children on their own before you knew it. Then he says goodbye to Mike. All in all, the entire situation is more friendly but not essential.
Unrated 28.92 sec longer



Alternate Footage
1:13:44: When the fight between Bryan and Maxim is coming to an end, Maxim has blood in his face - especially on his mouth and teeth. There is almost no blood there in the Theatrical Version.
Since it is visible several times due to the quickly cut sequence, it is not going to be mentioned every single time. Instead, there is exemplary roundup because it just seemed to make more sense.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Extended Scene
1:14:15: Maxim's self-inflicted headshot is more violent in the Unrated Version because one lso gets to see the bloody exit wound in the back of his neck.
0.4 sec



Alternate Footage
1:14:17: When Maxim hits the ground stertorously, the color has been censored one more time.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
1:14:23: Subtle but still visible. The small bloody wounds on Maxim's hand have been digitally removed from the Theatrical Version.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Extended Scene
1:15:48: The waterboarding scene is slightly longer.
0.52 sec



Alternate Footage
1:15:50: In the Unrated Version, it is more obvious tht Stuart is gasping for air under the table. The Theatrical Version shows Bryan instead.
Unrated 0.8 sec longer



Alternate Dialog
1:16:22: Stuart uses the F-bomb in the Unrated Version. The Theatrical Version contains a rather harmless word but lip movements show that this had been altered afterwards.

Theatrical Version: "The only thing I know is that you were screwing my wife."
Unrated: "The only thing I know is that you were fucking my wife."
no difference



Alternate Footage
1:16:30: More waterboarding in the Unrated Version again. Also, the Unrated Version focuses on Stuart's suffering while the Theatrical Version shows Bryan. The Theatrical Version is shorter, too.
Unrated 2.92 sec longer



Extended Scene
1:19:28: Bryan bends over to the knocked out bodyguards one more time.
1.04 sec


Extended Scene
1:19:30: Another bodyguard approaches with some tea, sees his knocked out co-workers but he react in time and gets knocked out by Bryan as well.
11.28 sec



Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
1:20:08: Now a much longer scene in the Unrated Version. Though it is nie contentwise, it is rather superfluous because nothing really new is being told here.
In a briefing, Dotzler tells his co-workers about Bryan and his team. That they used to be in the military and that there is nothing in their records about the time they were active. Until they resurfaced and founded a security firm where they still work. In other words, people who have what it takes. People who are not to mess with. Then he explains Maxim's headshot was self-inflicted and Bryan was looking for the perps. But Dotzler seems to be bugged by the fact that Bryan and his team are always one step ahead. and he wants it to stop.

The Theatrical Version lacks all of that. Instead, Dotzler gets a call in his car. He is being informed that Bryan rescued his daughter the cops can't do anything. Dotzler gets excited and hits the road.
Unrated 126.44 sec longer



Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
1:23:27: The shot of the two Afghans getting shot without a lot of bloodshed starts a few frames earlier in the Unrated Version. When they hit the ground, the Theatrical Version is a little longer. As a result, there is almost no length difference.
Unrated 0.08 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
1:23:59: When Malankov threatens Stuart with the weapon, he cocks the gun in Stuart's back while there is no weapon in the Theatrical Version.
Unrated 1.6 sec longer


Alternate Dialog
1:24:16: When Kim realizes Stuart is responsable for her mother's death, she gets angry and foul-mouthed. In order to get the PG-13 rating, she does not in the Theatrical Version. The lip movements are equal, the content is not.

Theatrical Version: "I knew it! Let me go, it's his fault! He killed her!"
Unrated: "Fuck you! I'll fucking kill you! I'll fu... I'll fucking kill you!"
no difference



Extended Scene
1:29:53: Additional shot of Bryan sneaking up on Stuart in the background.
4.56 sec


Alternate Footage
1:32:16: The Unrated Version shows the security guard getting hit by bullets (not very bloody nor detailed) in the background. Then he hits the ground. In the Theatrical Version, he just hits the ground. Different takes have been used.
Unrated 0.32 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Extended Scene
1:32:49: In the Unrated Version, the gangster with the blue shirt gets hit by buckshot 4 frames earlier. The scene remains unbloody though.
0.16 sec



Extended Scene
1:32:49: Him longer on the wall.
0.52 sec



Alternate Footage
1:32:59: Finally - one is tempted to say - the Unrated Version actually contains more violent footage. When the Russian goon shots the other one in the back, a lot of blood splatters from his back and paints the wall red. When Bryan then fires back and hits him, the gangster is wearing a bulletproof vest but he gets knocked out by the impact. In the Theatrical Version, everything is slightly shorter and not bloody.
Unrated 1.96 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
1:33:07: In the Unrated Version, blood is leaking out of the wounded gangster's noise and ear. The blood has been retouched in the Theatrical Version.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
1:33:15: When Bryan pumps a lot of lead into the other goon's body, there is blood splatter in the Unrated Version. The footage in the Theatrical Version is relatively harmless.
Unrated 0.72 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
1:34:33: Now an ongoing alteration which is rather absurd but required in order to get the PG-13 rating: every single GSW on sparsely dressed Oleg's body has been retouched, all signs of a fight in Bryan's and Oleg's faces have been digitally removed.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Alternate Footage
1:37:37: The GSW in Sam's shoulder is bloodier in the Unrated Version.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated



Extended Scene
1:38:39: On his way to the apartment tower, Dotzler is being stopped by a jack-knifed bus. More time gets wasted by waiting for the elevator in the parking garage. Completely redundant.
Unrated 12.64 sec longer



Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
1:39:19: Extended shot of the cops investigating the wrecked apartment. Blood has been retouched again when they find Oleg's body.
Unrated 12.36 sec longer

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