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After 11 underwhelming action thrillers in a row, Liam Neeson’s refusal to retire from the genre sounds more and more like a threat

He had a heck of a run, but it's surely time to close the book.

liam neeson retribution
Image via Lionsgate

When Taken first caught everyone off-guard and became a worldwide sleeper hit in 2008, nobody would have expected that Liam Neeson would still be churning out identikit action thrillers a full decade and a half later, especially when he’d voiced his imminent retirement from the genre more than once.

And yet, the grizzled veteran is still out there trying to save his family and punch bad guys in the throat, even if the law of diminishing returns doesn’t quite cover the nosedive in quality that’s been ongoing for the better part of a decade. If ever there was a time for Neeson to hang up his leather jacket for good, then Retribution‘s 29 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating is the latest in a long line of indicators.

Image via Lionsgate

Of the Academy Award nominee’s last 11 thrillers where he played the lead role dating all the way back to 2014’s Taken 3, 10 of them have scored between 11 and 59 percent on the aggregation site. The sole outlier is Cold Pursuit, which managed to nab a 68 percent average from critics, but was largely shunned by audiences to the tune of a 49 percent user rating.

Could this mean the end is nigh for the 71 year-old’s days as an action hero, especially when you consider that the recent likes of Memory, Blacklight, The Marksman, and inevitably Retribution have bombed or will bomb at the box office? Well, seeing as his upcoming list of credits includes Ice Road 2: Road to the Sky, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, Thug, and Cold Storage, we’re going to go out on a limb and say “not yet.”

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.