In North America, 20th Century Fox released the film on 9 January 2015. The film was released in France on 21 January 2015.
In 2015, former covert operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) visits his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), to deliver a birthday gift. After an awkward visit, he invites his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), to dinner. Although she declines, she shows up at his apartment and tells him about her marital problems. He agrees to let her try to work things out with her current husband Stuart (Dougray Scott).
The following day, Bryan receives a text from Lenore asking to meet him for breakfast. Bryan goes out for bagels; when he returns to his apartment, he discovers her lifeless body. L.A.P.D. units immediately appear and try to arrest him, but he resists and escapes. Meanwhile, L.A.P.D. Inspector Frank Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) familiarizes himself with Bryan's background and issues a B.O.L.O. for him.
Bryan retreats to a safe house equipped with weapons and surveillance electronics. He retraces Lenore's travels to a remote gas station convenience store and finds surveillance footage of her being abducted by unidentified men with unique hand tattoos, but L.A.P.D. detectives arrive and arrest him. While in transit, Bryan frees himself, hijacks the police cruiser, escapes, and downloads phone records from an L.A.P.D. database onto a thumb drive. He contacts Kim at Lenore's funeral via a camera hidden in his friend Sam's suit, instructing her to maintain her "very predictable schedule." She purchases her daily yogurt drink with a "Drink Me Now" note which, unknown by her, is drugged by Bryan. During a lecture, she feels nauseated and runs to the restroom where Bryan is waiting. He surprises her and gives her the antidote to the drug. Bryan removes a surveillance bug that, unknown to her, was planted by Dotzler. He tells her that he is looking for the real murderer and that she should keep safe. Kim tells Bryan of her pregnancy and that Stuart is acting scared and has hired bodyguards, which he has never done before.
Bryan tails Stuart's car but is ambushed by a pursuing SUV that pushes his car over the edge of a cliff. He survives the crash, hijacks a car, follows the attackers to a roadside liquor store and kills them. Bryan then abducts and interrogates Stuart, who confesses that his failure to repay a debt to a former business partner and ex-Spetsnaz operative named Oleg Malankov (Sam Spruell) was the reason Lenore was killed and that he exposed Bryan's identity to Malankov out of jealousy.
With assistance from his old colleagues and a nervous Stuart, Bryan gains entry to Malankov's heavily secured penthouse. After killing the guards, a furious gun battle, and a brutal fight, a mortally wounded Malankov reveals that Stuart tricked them both. Stuart had planned Lenore's murder and framed Bryan as part of a business deal to collect on a $12M insurance policy. When Malankov failed to kill Bryan, Stuart used Bryan to kill Malankov and keep the insurance money. Meanwhile, Stuart shoots Bryan's ally, Sam (Leland Orser), and abducts Kim, intending to flee with the money. Under police pursuit, Bryan arrives at the airport in Malankov's Porsche as Stuart's plane is taxiing toward takeoff. After destroying the landing gear, preventing the plane from taking off, Bryan overpowers Stuart and prepares to kill him but pauses at Kim's pleas. He tells Stuart to expect final punishment if he escapes justice or completes a reduced prison sentence. Dotzler and the LAPD arrive to arrest Stuart. Bryan is cleared of all charges.
In the aftermath of Stuart's arrest, Kim, who is pregnant, informs Bryan that she wants to name her baby after her mother if it is a girl.
On 28 September 2012, Liam Neeson said that there would not be a third film, or that the chances of Taken 3 happening were minimal. Later, on 9 October 2012, Taken and Taken 2 writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen told Hollywood that Fox wanted them to do a third film, but it would go in another direction. As of 24 June 2013, the script was being written by the film writers, but no director was set. On 12 March 2014, Maggie Grace joined the cast, followed by closing a deal with Famke Janssen the next day. On 24 March 2014, Leland Orser also returned to play his character, as did Jon Gries. On 31 March 2014, Jonny Weston signed on to appear in the film as Kim's boyfriend.
Principal photography of the film began on 29 March 2014 in Los Angeles, as well as in Atlanta. On 8 April 2014, Neeson was spotted shooting some scenes in Los Angeles. On 24 April 2014, filming began in Covington, Georgia, where they filmed scenes at Newton College & Career Academy lasting for two days from 24 to 25 April.
Nathaniel Méchaly was set to score the film.
All songs written and composed by Nathaniel Méchaly except where noted.
A trailer of Taken 3 the film saw its release on January 1, 2015 in Hong Kong and South Korea; on January 8, the film was released in the UK, in Spain on January 16, in France on January 21 and on February 12 in Italy.
20th Century Fox released the film on 9 January 2015 in the United States. The film was released under the title of "Taken 3 – L'ora della verità" in Italy, "Búsqueda implacable 3" in Mexico, "V3nganza" in Spain, "96 Hours -- Taken 3" in Germany and "Заложница 3" in Russia.
Taken 3 employed a "somewhat unconventional" marketing strategy with business-focused social network LinkedIn selecting one fan to have his or her "particular set of LinkedIn skills" endorsed by Liam Neeson's character Mills (a nod to a line in the first Taken, where Mills outlined his "very particular set of skills").
The film grossed $89.3 million in North America and $236.5 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $326.4 million, against a budget of $55 million.
In North America, the film earned $14.7 million on its opening day (including previews), which is the fourth-highest opening day for a film released in January behind 2015's American Sniper ($30.5 million), 2008's Cloverfield ($17.16 million) and 2012's The Devil Inside ($16.8 million). It topped the box office in its opening weekend with $39.2 million against a $38 – $39 million projection, making it the second highest debut in the Taken franchise behind Taken 2 ($49 million) and the fourth-highest January opening of all time behind American Sniper ($89.2 million), Ride Along ($41.5 million) and Cloverfield ($40.1 million).
Outside North America, the film opened a week prior to its US debut in South Korea and Hong Kong, and earned $8 million and $1.27 million, respectively, for a total of $9.34 million. In its actual opening weekend outside of North America, the film was #2 behind Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, earning $41 million from 4,730 screens in 36 markets. Highest international openings were witnessed in the UK and Malta ($10.86 million) and Australia ($4.8 million). It also went #1 in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The film opened to first place in the UK with $5.5 million, and debuted in Germany with $4.4 million, Russia with $2.2 million, Philippines with $2.5 million, which is the second-biggest opening ever for 20th Century Fox, and Spain with $1.2 million.
The film was poorly received by critics, with most of the criticisms directed at the film's action sequences, plot, direction, and film editing, though the acting was praised. On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a rating of 11%, based on 105 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10, becoming the worst-rated film of the trilogy. The site's critical consensus reads, "Hampered by toothless PG-13 action sequences, incoherent direction, and a hackneyed plot, Taken 3 serves as a clear signal that it's well past time to retire this franchise." On Metacritic the film has a score of 26 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."
Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times gave the film a negative rating, writing, "The logy screenplay, by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, sags under head-clutchingly banal dramatic scenes. Only Liam Neeson's appeal somehow survives unscathed, perhaps the most impressive stunt of all." Maggie Lee of Variety also went negative for the film, saying, "The third and presumably final installment of the Liam Neeson action franchise is a mind-numbing, crash-bang misfire". Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, giving the film a negative review, writes, "Taken 3 is so unintentionally hilarious I couldn't help but wonder -- do movie contracts carry a humiliation bonus clause these days?" Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News gave the film 4 stars out of 5, saying, "Here it's the audience that gets taken".
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film a negative review, saying, "If you love the other Taken movies, you will like this. But if you're determined to love it, you'll have to talk yourself into it -- and even then, it might not work." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club gave the film a C- grade, stating, "Because Mills' hyper-competence never seems exciting, it instead becomes giggle-inducing." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film zero stars, commenting, "Be warned, sequel fanboys: This thing sucks! At 62, Neeson still has a glare that means badass. Nothing else makes a damn lick of sense. The only thing getting taken is the audience."
Conversely, the film received a more positive review from Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly, who gave the film a grade of C, saying, "All you need to know about Taken 3 is that Liam Neeson survives an explosive car crash -- twice". Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly also went positive with the review by giving the film a B- grade, commenting, "It's the weakest of the trilogy, but Taken 3 kicks just hard enough to survive another day."
In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Taken 3 an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.