You know you're getting old for this shit when you're losing fights to department store mannequins.


You know you're getting old for this shit when you're losing fights to department store mannequins.

TAKEN 3

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. OFFICE

Some POOR BASTARD is marched into his OFFICE at GUNPOINT, to find PSYCHOTIC GANGSTER SAM SPRUELL awaiting him.

SAM SPRUELL

Greetings, I’ll be the puppy-murdering asshole for this movie. I’m not even kidding, I needlessly killed your dog in the process of getting you here. This franchise never exactly knew its way around subtlety.

The POOR BASTARD opens up a VAULT for SAM, but it’s EMPTY! An enraged SAM fires a gun at him, causing him to FALL DOWN, CLEARLY DEVOID OF ANY BULLET WOUNDS.

POOR BASTARD

What the hell? Am I in a crime thriller from 1947? Please don’t tell me this series has gone PG-13 on us!

SAM SPRUELL

Of course it’s PG-13. All the Taken movies are.

POOR BASTARD

Wait, seriously? But the first one seemed so brutal.

SAM SPRUELL

Yes well, it achieved that illusion using a thing called “clever and well-choreographed action set pieces”. This time though, we’re using a generic substitute called “shockingly amateurish and badly-edited shitty action”. Nine out of ten blind idiots can’t tell the difference!

POOR BASTARD

Come on man, grim unflinching violence is one of the only things these movies have to distinguish them in the first place. Without it, all we’ve got is a bunch of exotic European locales.

SAM SPRUELL

Um.

POOR BASTARD

...They forgot the European locales, didn’t they.

(sighs)

I’m so glad I’m only in this one scene. You’re on your own, buddy.

(dies)

INT. MAGGIE’S HOUSE

LIAM NEESON visits his daughter MAGGIE GRACE.

LIAM NEESON

Happy birthday, sweetie!

MAGGIE GRACE

(strained smile)

Pregnant? I’m not pregnant, who said I was pregnant? Maybe you’re the one who’s pregnant, how do you like THAT?

LIAM NEESON

Ugh, these “diddle around with pointless character stuff for twenty minutes” intros are always death. At least I can’t imagine us getting as tedious as Famke’s marriage-falling-apart yawnfest from the last movie-

FAMKE JANSSEN

OH WOE IS ME MY MARRIAGE IS FAILING BOO HOO

LIAM NEESON

Oh for God’s sake! Two years on you still haven’t divorced this guy?

FAMKE JANSSEN

Apparently not. Unless in that timeframe I did divorce him, then immediately married another guy with the same name but played by a different, less talented actor.

INT. LIAM’S HOUSE

LIAM is visited by less-talented-actor DOUGRAY SCOTT. Hey, remember DOUGRAY SCOTT?

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Look, Liam, you know how you’re on friendly terms with your ex-wife? And how this has had a very positive effect on your daughter’s relationship with you both, and been a huge comfort to Famke during these stressful past few years? Well I’m gonna need you to cut that out so I stand a better chance of wearing her down and convincing her to keep on with our shitty marriage.

LIAM NEESON

Fine, I’ll immediately agree with your unreasonable jealous demands. I promise to stop hanging out with Famke.

In the VERY NEXT SCENE, like TEN SECONDS AFTER THAT ONE, he receives a TEXT from FAMKE asking to MEET WITH HIM.

LIAM NEESON

Sure, I don’t recall any reason not to do that.

He goes and gets BAGELS, then heads back to find FAMKE is lying MURDERED IN HIS BED!

LIAM NEESON

Oh no, Famke has been TAK... uh, killed? Wait. Have I wandered into the wrong franchise?

(shakes Famke)

Famke, stop it, you’re doing it wrong! This is the thing you do every other X-Men movie. HERE we get KIDNAPPED, you ninny!

Suddenly a couple of POLICE burst in and attempt to arrest LIAM.

LIAM NEESON

Why hello officers. I will now come quietly and help you with your investigation, meanwhile calling my ex-spy buddies and asking them to make their own enquiries in a perfectly above-board, non-fugitive way, which is easily the most effective way for us to discover who murdered PSYCH!

He BEATS up the COPS and RUNS FOR IT! After doing GERIATRIC PARKOUR over CARS, WALLS, FENCES and DUMPSTERS, he winds up in some ORDINARY SUBURBAN GARAGE!

LIAM NEESON

Fuck, I’m cornered! Unless of course there’s some kind of secret human-sized hole under that truck there that opens onto a huge storm drain.

(checks)

Oh wow. I thought I was just saying random nonsensical garbage.

He drops down the RANDOM HOLE, then the COPS burst in to find an empty room.

COP

Dammit, he’s gone. No, don’t bother actually looking for some hidden exit or anything, my working theory seems to actually be that he magically blinked out of existence.

INT. POLICE STATION

DETECTIVE FOREST WHITAKER is leading the investigation into FAMKE’S MURDER.

FOREST WHITAKER

I checked Liam’s military records and they’re blank. So I figure either he’s some kind of Chuck Norris Meme-level superspy badass, or he helped win World War II by cracking the Enigma Code. Either way, check the GPS on Famke’s phone to track her movements the past few days.

LIAM NEESON

(elsewhere)

Good thing I’m not in their custody, but instead am free to pursue investigative leads those pinheads missed. For starters, I’m going to check the GPS on Famke’s phone to track her movements the past few days.

He finds out that FAMKE was at some GAS STATION in the middle of NOWHERE the previous night, and goes to check it out.

INT. GAS STATION

LIAM checks the GAS STATION’S SECURITY FOOTAGE, and discovers footage of FAMKE GETTING KIDNAPPED!

LIAM NEESON

Aha, in this freeze-frame I can make out that her abductor had a distinctive tattoo on his hand! I will now make sure this information gets to Forest, who probably would have gotten it on his own anyway, and who will proceed to do nothing with it whatsoever!

A couple of FOREST’S GUYS show up to ARREST LIAM!

LIAM NEESON

Damn, it’s almost as though investigating the exact same leads as the cops, at the exact same time, carried the risk of me bumping into some cops! Oh well, the last time one officer tried to cuff me while another held me at gunpoint, I had no trouble getting away from-

(is arrested)

Sometimes I don’t make sense even to myself.

The cops drive LIAM back towards the POLICE STATION. But on the way he overpowers his DRIVER and swipes the COP CAR! He drives directly into the CONCRETE DIVIDER of the OVERPASS, but instead of getting its engine block demolished, the car LEAPS TWENTY FEET INTO THE OPPOSITE LANE!

COP

Hold it, have we suddenly shifted into the Fast and the Furious universe? OH FUCK THAT MEANS-

LIAM causes a SEMI TRACTOR-TRAILER to SKID SIDEWAYS, knocking an SUV into a BACKFLIP! Its CARGO goes FLYING and CRUSHES about a dozen CARS!

LIAM NEESON

(killing everybody)

MUST. CLEAR. NAME. OF. MURDER.

The COPS chase LIAM into a multi-storey PARKING GARAGE. Eventually he gets cornered on the top level.

LIAM NEESON

Oops. Well, I guess I could drive backwards into the elevator shaft? Of course then I’d just drop eight storeys to my death. But a plan that I could never reasonably hope to survive is better than no plan!

He plummets down into the elevator shaft. About halfway down the car manages to get WEDGED in a way that doesn’t even make VISUAL SENSE.

COP

Oh fuck! Get down guys, I think that was one of those experimental cop cars that runs on nitroglycerine and is made entirely out of C4-

The car EXPLODES INTO A GIGANTIC FIREBALL THAT DEMOLISHES HALF THE BUILDING!

EXT. SOMEWHERE ELSE

LIAM is on a STREET.

LIAM NEESON

What the hell just happened? I was jammed halfway up an elevator shaft, trying to crawl out of a car about to go supernova, and now I’m here with no explanation. Maybe I can blink out of existence after all? ...Oh well, the cops surely think I’m dead for the time being. That gives me a tactical advantage that SCREW IT

(calls Forest)

Hi there!

FOREST WHITAKER

Liam! What’s so important that you’d call us on an easily-traceable stolen cop’s mobile?

LIAM NEESON

Stop trying to arrest me. Pleeease.

FOREST WHITAKER

...Um... no?

LIAM NEESON

Well nuts.

(pause)

For the record, I later refer to you as “really smart”, seemingly based entirely on this conversation. Go figure.

He hangs up and gets rid of the PHONE.

COP

Hey detective Whitaker, should we go to the current location of that phone?

FOREST WHITAKER

No point. A smooth operator like Liam would have ditched it.

COP

Oh hey, I just got report that one of Liam’s old spy buddies just gave Maggie some kind of message at Famke’s funeral. Should we tail him?

FOREST WHITAKER

Why bother, these guys are too good at losing tails. In fact if Liam walks into this room right now and confesses don’t even handcuff him because he’d probably just escape. Let’s all just curl into a ball and give the fuck up already.

COP

Well in that case I guess we might as well stop surveilling his daughter, as there’s no way this super-elusive megaspy of yours would be dumb enough to try and meet-

FOREST WHITAKER

Oh no, keep doing that, that’s very important.

INT. COLLEGE BATHROOM

MAGGIE, having excused herself from class due to NAUSEA, goes into the women’s restroom, where Liam immediately grabs her and silences her.

LIAM NEESON

All right, good thing my plan of sneaking you some nausea drugs worked with such improbably clockwork precision. I mean imagine if any other girl had wandered in while I was just waiting in the middle of the room, yeesh.

MAGGIE GRACE

Dad! What’s so important that you went to such complicated and risky lengths to meet with me?

LIAM NEESON

Nothing. I’m literally just here to say hi. So, hi.

MAGGIE GRACE

(sighs)

Seriously? Weren’t you supposed to be investigating a murder or something?

LIAM NEESON

Well while I’m here I might as well offer the obvious advice that while the cops are watching you, you should be sure not to do anything out of your normal routine, you know, anything that might rouse their suspicions.

MAGGIE GRACE

You mean like slinking out of class claiming sickness, then going to the bathroom for an extended period of time while the bug they’ve planted on me goes mysteriously silent?

LIAM NEESON

Er, yeah. Something as inanely transparent as that would of course tip them off immediately and excuse me I think I should leave.

The COPS close in on LIAM but he gets away by letting off an EXPLOSIVE inside a SCHOOL and inciting a wild PANIC IN EVERYBODY like the smooth hero that he is.

EXT. ROAD

LIAM is driving along a mountain road.

LIAM NEESON

All right, here I am on my way to... say, where the hell am I going right now and what do I plan on doing when I get there? This story has sort of stopped moving in any direction at all. I guess I have to just hope the screenwriters have some random event they can dump on me to restore some semblance of-

A bunch of GOONS ram into LIAM’S CAR and knock it off a CLIFF! But he SURVIVES and tracks them back to a STORE, where he unsatisfyingly BASHES THEIR HEADS INTO THINGS until only the TATTOO HAND GUY from the security footage is left.

LIAM NEESON

Tell me who you’re working for!

TATTOO GUY

Sure, sure. Right after I GRAB YOUR GUN AND MAKE ANY ATTEMPT WHATSOEVER TO WRESTLE IT OFF YOU BLOW MY OWN BRAINS OUT!

He FIRES LIAM’S GUN directly into his own HEAD, resulting in LITERALLY NO BRAIN SPLATTER OR GORE, JUST NONE, THE FLOOR AND WALL BEHIND HIM ARE BOTH CLEARLY VISIBLE IN THE FOLLOWING SHOTS AND THEY’RE FUCKING PRISTINE.

LIAM NEESON

The world sure is a nicer place ever since the criminal underworld agreed to the new “just fall down when I yell bang” rules.

INT. DOUGRAY’S HOUSE

LIAM confronts DOUGRAY.

LIAM NEESON

You bastard, you sent those goons after me, didn’t you!

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Well that conclusion came out of fucking nowhere. What made you realize it was me?

LIAM NEESON

I don’t know, how did those thugs figure out where to find me when the entire police force couldn’t? We’re well into the “stuff just happening” phase of the film by now.

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Fine, you got me. Sam Spruell killed Famke to intimidate me, because I owe him a bunch of money. He’ll go after Maggie next I bet!

LIAM NEESON

Uh huh, and what has this got to do with Arben and Rade?

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Who?

LIAM NEESON

You know. Arben Bajraktaraj, the guy I electrocuted in the first movie, and his crime boss dad Rade Sherbedgia, who tried to kill me in the second. At the end of the second movie we foreshadowed that Rade’s other sons would want revenge as well. Where do they figure in?

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Uh, they don’t. I guess we can just presume those guys all fell down the stairs or had heart attacks or something and we can just forget about them.

LIAM NEESON

But all the posters and trailers have kept going on about how this time “IT ENDS HERE”. What the hell ends, exactly? The events of this particular film? That’s not an epic conclusion, that’s just how stories work!

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Damnit, this is the Hangover franchise all over again! We give you a sequel that’s just a stale retread of the original, you complain. We give you a sequel that’s so vast a departure from the original that it might as well be The Standalone Adventures of Captain Nobody, you complain. What do you want from us, no sequel at all?!

LIAM NEESON

Would it kill you?

With the help of LIAM’S SPY PALS LELAND ORSER, JON GRIES and DAVID WARSHOFSKY, they take out the POLICE watching MAGGIE and whisk her away to their SUPER-SECRET FORTIFIED SPY BUNKER.

LIAM NEESON

We’re off to kill Sam. Maggie, you stay here in this ultra-secure hidden location, the assault on gangster headquarters is going to be very dangerous and I don’t want to take you there and potentially put you at risk of your life.

LELAND ORSER

That was Liam Neeson, in: Stuff My Character Totally Should Have Said in the Actual Movie. Join us next time for his stirring rendition of, “Jon and David, come with me so I don’t have to try and shoot all of Sam’s guards singlehandedly”!

INT. SAM SPRUELL’S FORTRESS-O-DOOM

MAGGIE, DOUGRAY and LELAND wait downstairs in the VAN while LIAM heads up and starts killing SAM’S GUARDS.

LIAM NEESON

(doing all the violence)

Take that, you European gangster scum!

GUARD

Actually sir, we’re professional security guards, no doubt assigned this post by some kind of security company. It’s entirely possible we don’t even know exactly what kind of activities our client-

(punted to the moon)

After murdering everyone, LIAM bursts in and starts shooting at SAM while SAM shoots back with a MACHINE GUN!

LIAM NEESON

(shooting)

BLAARRRH DIIIEEE!!!

SAM SPRUELL

(shooting)

NO YOU DIE GRRRAARRR!!!

LIAM NEESON

(shooting and shooting and shooting)

WE’RE BOTH SUPPOSED TO BE ULTRA-ELITE KILLERS HOW COME WE’RE MISSING SO BADLY

SAM SPRUELL

(causing worldwide bullet shortage)

I DUNNO MAN I’M NOT EVEN REALLY DODGING OR ANYTHING

LIAM NEESON

Okay, fuck it, maybe we’ll suck less at fisticuffs. Have at you!

They charge into each other and start a BADLY SHOT BRAWL/SLAP FIGHT/INTERPRETIVE DANCE.

SAM SPRUELL

Aha, I throw you slowly across the room and then clumsily pull you into a choke hold!

LIAM NEESON

But observe how I reach one hand back to nearly nudge the top of your head, thus causing you to release me somehow!

SAM SPRUELL

Fine then, I’ll just stomp you in the crotch or the butt or possibly the thigh!

LIAM NEESON

And now let’s both reach for my gun and wind up rolling around with our arms tangled together, without it ever being clear where the gun is pointed or indeed who is holding it!

SAM SPRUELL

Holy fuck but this fight is terrible.

(is shot)

Liam, you idiot, Dougray has been playing you! Maggie was never in danger, I only killed Famke because he said he’d pay me off with her life insurance! And now he’s gotten you to kill me so he can keep the money himself!

LIAM NEESON

What? Fuck off, I refuse to believe they’ve made Dougray the main bad guy of this movie. A whiny, cowardly, corrupt businessman whose parents accidentally gave him two names stuck together? He isn’t even European!

But going back downstairs, LIAM finds that DOUGRAY has indeed SHOT LELAND and MADE OFF WITH MAGGIE.

LIAM NEESON

So Maggie’s been... TAKEN? Awesome! I’m so glad to have reconnected with this franchise’s actual premise at least briefly, I’m not even upset that the climax of this movie consists of the bad guy running away from me as hard as he can!

DOUGRAY rushes towards the AIRPORT! LIAM chases him! And way in the rear, FOREST chases LIAM, in an embarrassing attempt to allow the COP CHARACTERS to actually AFFECT THE PLOT IN ANY SIGNIFICANT WAY!

EXT. AIRPORT

As DOUGRAY’S PLANE starts taking off, LIAM crashes into its landing gear, disabling it! DOUGRAY gets out holding MAGGIE at gunpoint.

LIAM NEESON

Oh for the love of... Dougray, a quick piece of advice about human shields. They work best if you hold them IN FRONT OF YOU, not like two feet to your left.

DOUGRAY SCOTT

Ahhh, that makes so much more sense, thanks!

(shot)

Ow. Okay, before you finish me off, just think about it. Think how little satisfaction there could ever be in you taking down an unthreatening little sack of failure like me. I mean, I didn’t even manage to kill Leland Fucking Orser with a gun at point-blank range.

LIAM NEESON

Ugh, you’re right. This is even a bigger letdown than Anonymous Fat Dude from the first movie.

(leaves, grumbling)

INT. POLICE STATION

FOREST WHITAKER

Now that we’re finally speaking face to face: Liam Neeson, you’re under arrest for assaulting police officers, vehicular manslaughter, blowing up a parking garage and murdering a building full of gangsters and security guards.

LIAM NEESON

Really?

FOREST WHITAKER

Psshhh, just kidding! Crimes committed in the name of clearing yourself of another crime don’t count, everyone knows that.

LIAM NEESON

Phew! And now to touch briefly on that lame subplot about Maggie’s pregnancy one more time, and this epic trilogy of ever-diminishing returns is done!

The movie is RELEASED and takes in a worldwide gross of TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS in its first TWO WEEKS.

LIAM NEESON

...Okay, I vote next time we go with the more honest slogan: “IT NEVER ENDS”.

END.

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