Liam Neeson’s transition into the most bankable action star in Hollywood has been rather remarkable. Far from being a flash in the pan, Neeson’s tenure as a geriatric hero is now into its 10th year, as “Taken” was released all the way back in 2008.
Overall, action films led by Neeson have grossed over $1.6 billion at the box office during this time. The latest to hit cinemas is “The Commuter.” Ahead of its release I had the opportunity to speak to Neeson’s co-star in the action thriller Patrick Wilson, during which time we discussed the Irish actor’s ascent in the genre.
After I asked Wilson why he thought Neeson had found such success, he responded, “It’s a number of things. I can only speak as a fan just watching them. I am happy to be in one with him, even though I think ‘The Commuter’ is a different breed. At the same time you hope that all of the people that love to see Liam and love to see ‘Taken’ come to see this film.”
But there is one particular physical attribute that Wilson believes has aided his rise as an action star.
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“I think he’s got the skillset really for any genre. But he’s got such soulful eyes, and he’s so honest, and he’s such an everyman that you just pull for him. There’s an earnestness to his performance.”
Mainly, though, Wilson believes that watching a man in his 60s fighting off the baddies is what really put bums on seat.
“He took a chance on ‘Taken,’ and went, ‘Let’s try this genre.’ And seeing an older man, not a kid, in it worked. His past films add depth to it, too.”
“It’s also nice to see a guy in his 60s play a 60-year-old. That’s his character. He’s going through this. He’s a big dude and you are happy to see him going for it. There are very few guys that can pull that off.”
You can judge for yourself whether “The Commuter” is a worthy addition to Liam Neeson’s collection of action film when it is released on January 12.