Neeson adds action man to his striking CV
Taken 2. Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Rade Serbedzila; directed by Olivier Megaton.
What's not to like about Liam Neeson?
The craggy, comforting Irish everyman holds all the cards.
His range covers everything from heartbroken solo dads (Love Actually), to mythical Greek gods (Clash of the Titans) to Celtic revolutionaries (Rob Roy). He also played a stunning hand as likeable, humane scoundrel Oskar Schindler, for which he should have collected the pot with an Oscar.
No surprise, then, that Neeson also came up trumps as a kick-arse action man in the entertaining, low-brainer action-thriller Taken. His chilling promise down the phone line to his daughter Kim's kidnappers that he will find them and kill them ranks as one of the more memorable latter-day Hollywood one-liners.
So naturally there's a sequel.
After wiping out a generation of Albanian baddies in the first movie, four years later Neeson's retired CIA agent Bryan Mills finds himself busting heads again when the vengeful father of one of his first victims takes him and his estranged wife Lenore (Janssen) hostage.
Bryan must be getting soft to let his guard down like that. But not for long.
First, daughter Kimmy has to call on her grown-up, kick-arse genes to help free them from the gangsters' grip.
Then Bryan goes about a search-and-destroy mission with all the enterprise and No 8 wire innovation of a black-ops MacGyver.
Intellectual realism it isn't, but it does push the Taken franchise along with genuine gritty suspense and a fair degree of Euro style, courtesy of French director Megaton and co-writer Luc Besson.
The door is left slightly ajar for a third instalment, although a weary and beaten-up Neeson probably signals his intent when he tells his Albanian nemesis, "I'm getting really tired of this".
And that's another reason why we like Liam Neeson. He's honest to a fault.
The Southland Times