By JOEY HEFFERAN
How many times have we heard the age old saying that our past will come back to haunt us? Probably somewhere near the amount of times we have been reminded just how badass Liam Neeson is.
With the astronomical success that the “Taken” franchise has seen by recycling the same basic premise back to back to back, it was only a matter of time before someone else tried to take advantage of an apparently time tested formula.
Unfortunately that someone was Sean Penn, who, at the age of 54, plays the role of Jim Terrior, an ex-mercenary whose past comes back with the vengeance necessary for several hard hitting fight scenes, explosions, and more than enough plot twists to please even M. Night Shyamalan.
Along the way, Jim must confront the mental toll his past has placed on his psyche, while fighting for his life against those wishing to cover up their involvement in an assassination that sparked a tumultuous civil war in the Congo.
It’s this third world setting that tragically ushers in some rather obvious subtext in reference to third world exploitation, which feels a bit forced at times. However, this may not be nearly as forced as the notion that Penn may be the best built 54-year-old to grace the silver screen, a theme almost subliminally reinforced throughout movie’s entirety.
In fact, I find myself dealing with an internal debate over what was more unnecessary: a bullfight in Barcelona, an area that outlaws the sport, or Penn’s apparent need for shirtless exploits and 80’s styled cigarette puffs.
With this being said, the film is certainly worth watching if for no other reason than the fact that “Taken 4” is beyond the realm of possibility. It delivers the necessities expected of a typical action film, but the preachy, often cheesy dialogue accompanied with the constantly under-dressed Penn, leaves much to be desired.