Liam Neeson has once again claimed that he’s retiring from his status as cinema’s resident grizzled badass, roughly seven years and at least half a dozen action thrillers after he first said it. Of course, the 68 year-old still has several more in various stages of production, while his latest effort hit theaters on Friday and managed to top the domestic box office.
That gives Neeson the unique distinction of headlining two movies that have opened at number one during the pandemic era, and it shouldn’t be a shock to discover that both Honest Thief and The Marksman find him well within his wheelhouse. The latter sees the veteran star as a former Marine living a solitary existence as a rancher along the border between Arizona and Mexico, but unsurprisingly, he’s forced to dust off his skills when a young kid on the run from a drug cartel stumbles into his path.
If that sounds like exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from Neeson at this stage in his career, then the critics are in full agreement. The Marksman has been dismissed as yet another formulaic entry into the genre that brings nothing new to the table, but the leading man’s performance is as accomplished and reliable as ever.
Over 60% of the theaters in the United States are currently closed, but the film still managed to dislodge Wonder Woman 1984 from the top spot after three weeks with a haul of just $3.2 million. Obviously, that’s not a lot, but it goes to show that even in these historically dire times for the industry, audiences remain keen to see Liam Neeson doing what he does best on the biggest screen possible.