Marquette Wire

Liam Neeson has ‘Taken’ my heart

Liam+Neeson+always+plays+roles+that+are+similar+to+Brian+Mills+from+Taken.
Liam Neeson always plays roles that are similar to Brian Mills from Taken.

Liam Neeson always plays roles that are similar to Brian Mills from Taken.

Photo by Photo via Flickr.com

Photo by Photo via Flickr.com

Liam Neeson always plays roles that are similar to Brian Mills from Taken.

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“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills.”

With those 38 words, Liam Neeson turned himself from a typical, dramatic actor into something completely different: an action star. And while the idea of the action star may have been around in the ’80s and ’90s, today the specific role is inhabited only by Neeson and icon, Tom Cruise.

However, Neeson’s metamorphosis didn’t lead him to become a typical action star.  Whenever you watch a Tom Cruise movie, you know that you’re watching Tom Cruise, but you also understand that he is playing different characters.  Same thing with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone or any other action star.

Yet, when you watch a Liam Neeson action movie, you’re watching Brian Mills from “Taken,” no matter the film. Allow me to explain.

In “Taken,” Brian Mills is a former CIA operative who has to rescue his daughter and her friend from sex traffickers in France. He is a no-nonsense man who will do whatever it takes to find his daughter, even if that means turning an everyday household chair into an electric chair using a car battery.

The role of Brian Mills transformed Neeson from a typical actor into a fearless, savage warrior. No longer would Neeson be playing roles such as sex researcher Alfred Kinsey or Oskar Schindler, the German businessman and savior of thousands of Jewish lives. No, instead he would be playing Brian Mills, no matter what the actual name of the character would be.

“Unknown,” released in 2011, stars Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, who wakes up from a coma to find that his identity has been taken. Harris must then go and prove who he is, by punching and shooting his way back to his identity. This is all too similar to his Brian Mills character.

In 2012’s “The Grey,” Neeson plays the role of John Ottway, an Alaskan Marksman whose job is to protect oil drillers from grey wolves. He has a very particular set of skills, those being killing grey wolves. Once again, Neeson must save himself from a group of wolves bent on eating him and his group stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. And yet again, the role feels just like Brian Mills.

This trend only continues the further into the future you go. It’s seen again in 2012 with “Taken 2,” where Neeson once again portrays the role of Brian Mills but this time is allowed to go by that name. In 2014 the movie is “Non-Stop.” Brian Mills’ name is now Bill Marks, who has to rescue an entire plane from a killer on board. They didn’t even try to make it different with this one, I mean even the initials are the same.

Then there’s Taken 3, where he is once again Brian Mills, “Run All Night,” where Brian Mills goes by the name Jimmy Conlon (and if that sounds like a perfect Irish mob member name to you, congratulations, you’ve figured out what Neeson’s former occupation in this movie is). And most recently, “The Commuter,” where Michael MacCauley is the chosen name for, you guessed it, the same old character of Brian Mills.

If you’re confused about all of the different names and movies, don’t worry. They’re all pretty much the same. Liam Neeson plays a warrior who must save a various number of people from some big-bad thing or person who he has somehow been connected to before the events of the movie.

That’s not to say that the movies aren’t good, or at least enjoyable.  In fact, the pattern is kind of refreshing.  Walking into a Liam Neeson movie, you know exactly what kind of movie you’re going to get.  You’re going to see a good, honest man get dragged into a situation that he doesn’t want to be in but who knows what he has to do and fights for what’s right.

“Taken” is one of the best action movies made this century. And “Taken” also set a blueprint for good action movies to follow, with the most important part of that blueprint being the main actor: Liam Neeson.

So if you’re ever looking for an action movie to watch and for some reason can’t find “Taken,” there are plenty of similar films that will satisfy your appetite. There’s Taken with Wolves (“The Grey”), Taken on a Plane (“Non-Stop”), Taken on a Train (“The Commuter”), Taken Identity (“Unknown”), Taken Again (“Taken 2”) or Taken Again Again (“Taken 3”). Any of those films will hit the nerve that you’re looking for.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Liam Neeson has ‘Taken’ my heart”

  1. faugusto on February 2nd, 2018 6:11 pm

    Article completely devoid of any point, trash

    [Reply]

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