Michael C. here. It has been over six years since Liam Neeson reinvented as filmdom’s reigning action hero by making “I will find you, and I will kill you” sound less like a threat and more like a statement of simple fact. Since then, a sort of unofficial franchise has formed around the concept of Neeson as a grim dispenser of violence. This series, not including would-be franchises launches like Battleship and The A-Team, breaks down into three distinct groups. They are:
- Pure, unadulterated schlock. Only the faintest trace of plot or character. Just Neeson methodically throat-punching his way through an unending supply of sleazy Euro-Villains bent on doing unspeakable things to his loved ones: Taken 1, 2, 3
- Still schlock, but with bonus bells and whistles. Supporting characters, a high concept premise, and a plot of rapidly escalating absurdity. Slightly less throat punching than the Taken films, but still a lot of throat punching: Unknown, Non-Stop
- Actual films of substance smuggled into theaters. Under the guise of another Neeson schlock-fest, naturally. Little to no throat punching. Occasional implied wolf punching: The Grey, A Walk Among the Tombstones
For a while it looks like the latest entry in this series, Jaume Collet-Serra’s currently underperforming Run All Night, is poised to join Grey and Tombstones in that elite third group...