TV Trends: With 'Taken 3', Liam Neeson Does It Again... Why Is Retired Agent Bryan Mills So Popular?

Liam Neeson has defied critics once again, storming into pole position at the box office with his third outing as retired special forces agent Bryan Mills, in the crowd-pleasing 'Taken 3'.

Critics may have pooh-poohed this re-run of the first film, which saw Bryan Mills having to tune up his unique set of skills, after his daughter (played by Maggie Grace) is kidnapped. But audiences are lapping it up, with the film fighting off far more Award-ready fare for ticket stubs, to the tune of $40.4million in its opening weekend.

Liam Neeson has cleaned up at the box office with 'Taken 3' - and now there's talk of a fourth...

Despite box office success with both sequels (the second film took $49million in its first weekend), the first film remains the establishing the war-worn character hiding a big heart with a particular bon mot that has deservedly entered the lexicon. When Bryan first makes contact with those holding his daughter, he tells them.. and we reproduce it here in all its glory...

I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

The second film sees… same skills, different family member, as Bryan and his daughter must work together to rescue his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) from a different group of interlopers - cue lots of running across Istanbul rooftops. With the credits rolling, it seems there's potentially nobody left that Bryan cares about enough to run after, and sure enough it's his daughter in peril once again in the third film. And there's even breezy talk of a fourth. What IS going on?

What a man will do through his love for his daughter...

It can't just be Liam Neeson's star power alone - his uncannily similar role in last year's airborne action movie 'Non-Stop' didn't produce anything like the same numbers - so what is it about this weary, wizened but still willing Bryan Millers that audiences take to in their droves?

"When the first film came out in America in 2009, the world had turned upside down. Our elected leaders, so-called pillarsof society, bankers, were shafting us, everyone felt vulnerable scared and nervous.

"So people were seeking entertainment, 'Taken' and a couple of others, where someone isn't going to call a figure of authority when he's in trouble, he's going to do it himself, that gave people a guilty pleasure...

"I think (Bryan Mills) is very vulnerable, an overprotective dad, not some superhero. He's led a very covert, professional life, and missed out on his daughter's upbringing, desperately trying to make up for that time, and failing, the way most fathers feel, I think."

'Taken' can be seen on Virgin Movies, available on Virgin Media, which provides access to up to 260+ channels including Freeview Channels, Virgin Movies, Sky Movies and Netflix.

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