The second half of Liam Neeson’s action packed career continues with ‘Taken 2,’ and I couldn’t be happier.
Sure Liam Neeson’s career started out in action. He was in Excalibur in ’81, Krull in ’83, and Darkman in ’90. But in ’92 he took a role in Woody Allen’s ‘Husbands and Wives,’ and a year later he took on the role of a lifetime in ‘Schindler’s List.’ He was already in his forties when he was nominated for an Oscar for playing the dashing and guilt hearted Oskar Schindler. He would take the lead in Nell next before fading with The Haunting, Gun Shy and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Liam Neeson had a good run and his career seemed to be hitting the wall as he reached his 50′s.
It’s not uncommon for an actor to lose his leading man card as he enters his fifties. Guys like John Voight, Richard Gere, Pierce Brosnan, Antonio Banderas and Kevin Costner lost the ability to carry films as the lead. So, most actors in their fifties begin to take on supporting roles or join ensemble casts. They play fathers or mentors to up and coming stars in their 20′s and early 30′s. It seemed like the same thing was happening to Liam Neeson. In ’02 he played Leonardo DiCaprio’s father in Gangs of New York. Then he was a cog in the ensemble, Love Actually, before flopping in Kinsey and playing Orlando Blooom’s father in Kingdom of Heaven. His career was winding down like so many before him and there was no shame in it. It happens to the best of them. Hollywood is a young mans game.
But than Batman Begins gave him some new life and four years later Taken changed his career path. Taken became the surprise hit of 2009. It took everyone by surprise. No one predicted the $25m film would go on to make over $225m at the box office. It was an international hit and Liam Neeson was the movie. He was the leading man and somehow Luc Besson talked the MPAA into giving the film a PG-13 ratings. Suddenly middle school boys and girls were reintroduced to the man from Northern Ireland and casting directors took notice.
Liam Neeson isn’t the most ambitious guy. He doesn’t have a single producing credit to his name and has never director or edited a film. He is an actor through and through and so his viability is paramount. Some actors produce their own films if no one wants them and Liam Neeson could easily do the same. If he took a project around to different studio’s he’d almost certainly find a partner. But he hash’t done that. Instead, he plays his part and his agent waits for phone calls.
Since Taken it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, but there are no doubts of his A-list status. Since ’09 he’s starred in Clash of the Titans, The A-Team, Unknown, The Grey, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship and is back in The Dark Knight Rises. Up next? Taken 2. Liam Neeson may be 59 years old, but he’s still in his acting prime. Somethings get better with age and that’s a good thing for movie lovers like myself.
Taken 2 Poster
Images from Taken 2
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