‘Tis the season to be Neeson

Well the summer’s here (or on the way hopefully) and it’s time for the summer blockbusters at the cinema. We actually went to see one the other day with our grandson Georgie – Toy Story 4. It was our first visit in years and we enjoyed it. But the movie being promoted madly on our tv screens at the moment is a little harder-edged than Disney/Pixar are offering. It’s the annual action revenge thriller starring Liam Neeson, Cold Pursuit. You know the plot; in response to something awful happening to one of his family he embarks upon a killing spree to seek retribution. It’s summed up by his words, ‘I will have blood for blood’. And he does, finding ever more gruesome ways to despatch his enemies. Here’s the toned down trailer ….

Now this is the latest in a long line of equally bloody films starring Neeson; Unknown, Non-stop, The Grey and the imaginatively entitled Taken, Taken 2, and Taken 3. Heaven only knows what they’ll call the next in the series. Anyway the point of all this is to ask, just how and when did mild old Liam become a flint-hearted cold-bloodied screen killer? The last film we saw him in was Love Actually when he played the gentle and miserable Daniel painfully mourning the death of his wife, Joanna, as he tries to raise his stepson Sam alone. Precocious Sam was actually the least lovable character in the film – an indulged geeky kid prone (in a most unlikley way) to using bad language who falls for an American classmate, also named Joanna. After discussion with his stepfather, the kid decides to learn the drums so that he can accompany her in the big finale for their school’s Christmas pageant. After Sam feels that he missed his chance to make an impression on her, Daniel convinces Sam that he must go catch Joanna, who is returning to the US, at the airport that night and show her how he feels, lest he regret it. Sam runs away from the airport security and says hi to Joanna, who then kisses him on the cheek. Meanwhile, Daniel meets and falls for Carol (Claudia Schiffer), the mother of one of Sam’s schoolmates.

Yes it’s Richard Curtis-preposterous and about as likely as a geriatric Irishman taking on heavily tooled-up and hardened drugs gangs, sex-traffickers, organised crime crews and single-handedly ripping them to pieces. But somehow, someone in one of Hollywoood’s major casting agencies saw something in Liam’s tearful eulogy speech in Love Actually which made him/her think, this is our lone wolf revenge killer. Maybe they thought his character Daniel was surely destined to rip his increasingly annoying stepkid’s head off at some point. Who knows? But the rest is history, as they say, and Liam Neeson is now the cinema’s hardest man in the world. I still can’t see it…



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