Over the past decade Liam Neeson has been in a variety of films and television shows, but the constant action roles seem to have played their course. Now 62, Neeson’s most recent headfirst dive into action comes in the form of Run All Night. Like many of Neeson’s recent film choices, Run All Night is jam-packed with a straight forward story and relentless adrenalin. In younger men’s careers this would be good; but Neeson’s age is catching up with him according to some viewers.
Last year Neeson told the Guardian that, “If audiences get tired of seeing an action star in his 60’s shooting away, I’ll take note of that and follow their wishes. But I’m in good health and it’s still fun.”
When one looks at Neeson’s resume of action, a number of roles stand out immediately. Taken, The Grey, and smaller parts in Gangs of New York or Batman Begins show Neeson at his finest. After all, how many other actors have you seen wrap broken glass to his fists to fight hand to hand a pack of wolves? Nothing says “I’m a bad-a**” like fighting wolves with your fists.
But Neeson’s place in our hearts as “the man” seem to be coming to an end. More recent walks into action land, including one among tombstones, show Neeson playing the same kind of characters that differ just barely from each action film before it. The biggest difference between Taken Three and Nonstop, was that in Nonstop Neeson was trapped on a plane. This is yet another example of the sometimes stale action world. The star is stuck on a plane with criminals, terrorists, or in Samuel L Jackson’s case a bunch of snakes.
It is because of these twin pictures Neeson keeps accepting that when each is compared to the previous action film, one can see the aging process begin to creep into the man once known as Qui Gon’s performance.
While he is content with playing in action roles for the next two years, many fans await the day when he lands another dramatic role like in Schindler’s List. Recently he said that, “I have been sent a bunch of action-oriented scripts, and I’m flattered people see me that way. But every actor has his limits.” This seems to say that he is ready to expand his acting horizons further than a testosterone fueled action pic the public has gotten used to seeing. Quite a while ago there were rumors that Neeson would be involved with the sequel to Irvine Welsh’s comedic trip through a horror story Trainspotting; titled Porno. Thus far no news seems to have come on this front, so fans can only cross their fingers and hope.
While his age may be beginning to show, his movies are still enjoyable – though sitting through a marathon of his action films would be a bit of a chore. In 2014 Neeson played a hilarious villain in Seth MacFarlane’s 1,000 Ways to Die in The West, proving that even in an action role he can make audiences laugh.
With a role in the upcoming sequel Ted Two that is certain to bring many of his fans rolling on the floor with laughter, Neeson’s career seems far from over. Then again, all it takes is one freak accident and an actor’s light gets extinguished. Hopefully it won’t happen to Neeson, who has over 100 acting credits to his name, because throwing your body off of a building onto a net is dangerous stuff, whether or not someone is 62 years old.
Opinion by Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Sam Javanrouh – Flickr License