After spending the first 30 years of his career gaining a reputation as a recognizable and respected character actor, Liam Neeson took the plunge into the action genre with Taken in 2008 to finally become a bona fide movie star. After Bryan Mills’ throat-punching rampage through Paris turned out to be massive box office success, Neeson reinvented himself as arguably the most bankable action hero in the industry on the cusp of his 60th birthday.
The ‘Liam Neeson Action Thriller’ almost became a subgenre unto itself, and director Jaume Collet-Serra was at the helm for many of these efforts. The duo collaborated on Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night and The Commuter, all of which turned a hefty profit in theaters. That first one is the more forgotten of the quartet, but will look to gain a second wind when it arrives on Netflix next month, on January 1st.
Neeson stars as a doctor who suffers a serious car accident while in Berlin for business, but when he wakes up in the hospital, he discovers his wife has no idea who he is and another man has assumed his identity, while mysterious forces are out to kill him. A routine effort with some sizeable leaps in logic and a hugely implausible third act, Unknown is nonetheless a diverting enough entry into the leading man’s back catalogue.
Fans should enjoy these flicks while they can, though, because Neeson revealed his desire to step away from action thrillers a couple of years ago, and has since greatly diversified his output by starring in action thriller Widows, action thriller Cold Pursuit, and action thriller Honest Thief, with action thriller The Marksman and action thriller The Ice Road in the can and awaiting release next year.