It’s Liam Neeson‘s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are five of my favorite performances from the acclaimed Northern Irish actor. Check some of these out if you haven’t already!
The film that turned Neeson into an action star. I actually just rewatched Taken not too long ago and it still holds up. In the film, Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former CIA operative with a very particular set of skills. Skills that he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for the people that kidnapped his daughter. I know we’ve reached the point where that iconic quote, and basically the whole film, has been parodied in numerous film and TV shows. It definitely set the stage for the next decade of films Neeson would star in. The sequels never quite match the tension and thrill of the original, but the trilogy in whole is still an action series that knew when to quit before it wore out its welcome.
The Lego Movie (2014)
You really never think of Neeson as a comedic actor, but his vocal performance in The Lego Movie is top notch. Making good use of the Lego minifigure heads that have a face on each side, Good Cop / Bad Cop takes the worn out police trope and breathes new life into it. It is also just hilarious to hear Neeson do a higher pitched and happier voice after we’re so used to his low and serious voice from all his action films. It’s great, just like The Lego Movie.
The Chronicles of Narnia (2005-10)
Another vocal performance. In a movie filled with mostly unknowns (and the great Tilda Swinton), it is Neeson’s smooth and relaxing voice as Aslan that helps guide the Pevensie children through their adventures in Narnia. This film could have easily been a misfire had the CGI not been top-notch (it’s still impressive 16 years later). Aslan feels like a real creature. Neeson’s performance makes Aslan come alive. Whenever they reboot the Narnia films I would love to see Neeson come back to voice the great talking lion. It’s his voice I hear when reading the books.
My favorite Liam Neeson action film. This film is an absolute blast. Neeson plays a Federal Air Marshal who must find a killer on an international flight. Every twenty minutes someone will die. After Taken, this has to be the most easily accessible Neeson-action film. It’s got a clear plot, great performances from Neeson and Julianne Moore, and a tense thriller vibe. You will definitely want to give this one a shot if you have not already.
Cold Pursuit (2019)
This is the only action film starring Neeson that I have seen in theaters and it was quite the experience. It plays sort of unconventional to what we would be used to seeing from Neeson. It’s a more jokey action film. I mean the plot is about a vengeful snowplow driver who starts killing off a drug cartel after they murdered his son. It’s a silly premise and the movie is well aware of it. I don’t really remember much about the kills except for the very last one and it was really absurd. It’s quite the ending to a film. If you want something that feels like an action film, but also doesn’t take itself too seriously then check out Cold Pursuit.
What are some of your favorite films to feature birthday boy Liam Neeson?