Man Likes Other Man

“The moral complexity of the Rampaging Dad saga—or at least the semblance of moral complexity—comes in the unfolding depiction of how even a righteous mission can warp, debase, and harden a decent man over time until he goes functionally berserk. In order to right a wrong and rescue a captive soul, the movie’s (anti-)hero may carve a trail of destruction whose human toll surpasses that of his adversaries, becoming the very monster he seeks to slay. This is amped up to insane, absurd excess in Taken, where, according to one online tally, Neeson’s Bryan knocks off about three dozen guys with neck snaps, gunshots, knife stabs, and, in one showy sequence of sadism, a makeshift electric chair, which seems a tad disproportionate, even for an angry, post-9/11 American. I tried keeping my own body count while watching the 2012 sequel Taken 2 (which, despite a critical chorus of boos, banked it huge at the box office) but after a while lost track of how many dead Albanians Bryan had left in his wake like a marauding litterbug. That the movies manage not to be totally preposterous is a testament to Neeson’s innate plausibility as an actor, his calm, anchoring core.”
—Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott appreciates Liam Neeson’s transformation from thespian to action-hero. You may have seen it already, but for my money, Neeson’s 2011 cameo on Ricky Gervais’s “Life’s Too Short” is the funniest five minutes of comedy filmed in the past five years. It’s always worth rewatching.