In the movie released at the end of August, Liam Neeson continues to play a familiar fighting action role, associated with his image on the big screen for the past 15 years, after the fateful phone call in ‘Taken’. .

At the age of 71, Liam Neeson has a successful acting career with a series of nominations and awards, including 1 Oscar nomination, 1 BAFTA award, 3 Golden Globe awards…. He is also ranked at No. 7th place in the list of Ireland’s 50 greatest film actors and received the title of Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2000 for contributions to the arts.

Career crossroads

After success with a series of roles that favored deep inner developments, he made a name for himself in the 7th art such as Oskar Schindler (Schindler’s List – 1993), Michael Collins, Jean Valjean (Les Misérables – 1998)… Liam Neeson suddenly changed direction.

About 15 years ago, the video showed former CIA agent Bryan Mills picking up the phone, calmly speaking in a low, hoarse voice, threatening the gang that kidnapped his daughter: “If you let my daughter go, this will end.” end. I don’t search and chase. If you don’t let go, I will chase you. I will definitely find and kill you”, changed Liam Neeson’s acting career.

The phone call in ‘Taken’ changed Liam Neeson’s acting career. Photo: 20th Century Fox.
According to The Atlantic, that was the beginning of the Irish actor’s return with a surprising new look. At the age of 60, he suddenly became an action star. The following series of films had similar colors to Taken (2008) with a setting that often took place in Europe, Liam Neeson played the role of elderly men, holding guns, wearing leather jackets with skilled fighting skills, trained Trained since childhood.

In addition to the Taken series with 3 films, released in 2008, 2012 and 2014 respectively, revolving around former agent Bryan Mills and his family, some other notable names include Non-Stop (2014), The Commuter (2014), The Commuter (2014). 2018), Cold Pursuit (2019), The Ice Road (2021).

It seems that Liam Neeson himself has no intention of changing his acting direction to become a classic action actor. However, one landmark film changed everything. This seems similar to Keanu Reeves’ return in John Wick.

The Metaphor of ‘Retribution’

Retribution (2023) premiering in the last week of August in France, the US and many other places around the globe continues to introduce the action character played by Liam Neeson in a familiar style.

In Retribution, the 70-year-old actor plays a man trapped in a car, unable to escape, which The Atlantic called an apt metaphor for his late-career shift toward action movies. male actor’s career.

Why did Liam Neeson reject the James Bond role? - AS USA
Liam Neeson’s latest action figure from ‘Retribution’. Photo: Lionsgate.
Liam Neeson plays father Matt Turner, a financial expert, driving his two teenage children played by Jack Champion and Lilly Aspell. After moving, they received a mysterious call, the other end of the line informed that the car had been rigged with explosives and could not escape.

The story is somewhat similar to the classic work Speed (1994) starring Keanu Reeves, about a bus rigged with a bomb that will explode if it slows down. Most of the action scenes in Retribution have Matt driving around the city, having heated conversations with an anonymous terrorist, his voice distorted.

However, The Atlantic’s initial review suggests that there are certain weaknesses in Liam Neeson’s latest action thriller. The film’s circuit repeats over and over the scene where Matt crashes the car, regains his strength, and continues boringly into the next action phase, robbing any chance of creating a breakthrough for the work.

Liam Neeson’s performance in Retribution lacks coldness, thorns, fierce action, steadfastness to the end… which created Taken’s success beyond expectations. Matt doesn’t have any chilling threatening lines, instead he weakly pleads: “I just want my life back!”.

After 15 years since the release of Taken, Liam Neeson has created a significant appeal for low-budget, thriller action films. Now, perhaps it’s time for him to give up this special skill set.