Liam Neeson has made a career over the last fifteen or so years out of playing grizzled loners who get thrown into extraordinary circumstances. He usually handles these situations with a lot of violence, whether it’s rescuing his daughter from kidnappers or seeking revenge on men who killed a friend or loved one, he takes care of business only the way he can. This has been a very lucrative avenue for him to go down as an actor, especially since he’s 68 years old. Incredibly, he’s considered an action star at this advanced age in his career. The Marksman is another film in this vein for Neeson to shine in.
Neeson plays a former Marine who lives a lonely life on a ranch adjacent to the border of Mexico in Arizona. His life is thrown upside down when a boy and his mother cross his path on his land. After a tragedy that happens to the boy’s mother, Neeson’s character is forced to take care of the boy and return him home to his relatives in Chicago. That feat isn’t as easy as it sounds due to extenuating circumstances involving a Mexican cartel that is after the boy.
These kinds of films can be a bit contrived to all the plot points lining up to create these types of situations, especially in Neeson’s starting action films. The thing is we as an audience give them the pass a lot of times because we can get behind his causes or why he’s doing these things, whether it’s trying to clear his name or recurring a Mexican boy he is just perfect at playing these characters. It’s okay that the stories are sometimes a little far-fetched. That’s what movies are for to get out of our real lives and go into a world of action and adventure.
Seeing as this film is set in Arizona and the Midwest, it allows the filmmakers to get some great shots and vistas. The Arizona ranch Neeson’s character is a bit desolate, but as he travels around with the boy in toe we get to see how beautiful the midwest is in this country. Even though they are on the road driving, we still get to see a lot of scenery from Texas and Middle America. The cinematography is solid in the film.
Even though we, as an audience, have seen Neeson do this sort of thing in the past in films and other action stars as well. This familiar trope is very effective. Neeson is at home in this type of role. If I were him, I would keep doing these types of films with these roles over and over again as long as he can keep doing them, which seems like he can because he’s cranked them out quite frequently over the past decade and a half. I could watch him in these types of films and roles forever.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media