Liam Neeson’s Top 5 Film Roles

February 12, 2013 12:00 pm

liam neeson takenLiam Neeson appears to be an actor who is drastically reinventing himself. He used to be known for his relaxed, mentor roles (see Kingdom of Heaven), but now he appears to be redefining our idea of the modern-day action hero, making 60 the new 30, as he takes on action heroes like Bruce Willis and Stallone at their own game. He is getting mixed reviews for his change in movie choices, some loving his character of Bryan Mills in Taken 1 and 2, others thinking that it is one of the lazier cult movies seen in a while. I thought it was time to have a look back at his varied filmography and decide which of his roles gave us the very best of Liam Neeson.

5 – OSKAR SCHINDLER – SCHINDLER’S LIST

This is the kind of film that it is surprising ever made it into the cinemas. Before this movie, holocaust films never really made much of a massive hit at the box office. Sure, Spielberg was backing it, but at the same time, when it was shot in black and white and the lead role in the hands of Liam Neeson, who at the time, was a fairly ‘unknown’ (Unknown – get it?) actor. Despite all of the cons with this film, it became a massive hit and is still a strong contender for one of the top films of all time. Liam Neeson should give himself some credit for that storming success.

4 – QUI – GON JINN – THE PHANTOM MENACE

OK, the first of the Star Wars prequels could be described as the biggest disappointment in movie history, but we cannot fault Liam Neeson for that. In fact, he is one of the few reasons that it is worth a second viewing. He handles the role of Jedi Master well, handling the calm nature of his character well, while at the same time bringing the action when it was needed. We could argue Liam Neeson was our first look at a fully fledged Jedi Knight in his prime and he did not disappoint.

3 – CARVER – SERAPHIM FALLS

Out of all of the films on this list, Seraphim Falls is probably the least known. It is worth a watch. It is a fairly short Western starring Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. Although it is a Western, it stays away from the towns and clichés we may have come to expect from the John Wayne films and gives a fairly tense thriller. Neeson plays the merciless villain hunting down Brosnan, intent on his murder. Midway through the film, the director flips everything we thought we knew about this film and we are left stunned at the talent of the actors and writers. OK, the ending might leave a few viewers craving more closure, but it is still a solid entry on the list of Neeson thrillers.liam neeson the grey

2 – JOHN OTTOWAY – THE GREY

This is the most modern of the Neeson entries here. It didn’t do too well in the cinemas, because it was marketed as Neeson versus wolves, cashing in on Neeson’s new action hero image. It is much more intelligent that Liam Neeson punching wolves, however, giving us a primal thriller and survival horror, rawer than any other in a long time. Neeson is the centre of the action, bringing us a fantastic performance from an intriguing character. It is worth a watch just to see Liam Neeson at his best.

1 – RA’S AL GHUL – BATMAN BEGINS

However, I had to put his chilling depiction of Batman villain Ra’s Al Ghul at the top, just because it is the kind of role I want to see Liam Neeson get more often. His villains are just perfect, bringing a calm sophistication that would not look out-of-place in a Bond or Die Hard movie. He is more than capable with the action to make a believable fighter and his rationalisation of destroying the city of Gotham was mind-blowing to watch. When Neeson is finished playing action hero, I think he should consider getting more films that require him to play the ultimate bad guy.

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