Liam Neeson continues his current reign as America’s favorite action star over 60 with “The Commuter,” a.k.a. “Taken on a Train,” opening in theaters this weekend. Here’s your guide to all the places to watch Neeson pick a fight if you want to stay in the comfy of your own home.
Liam Neeson Fights Batman – “Batman Begins” (Netflix)
“Training is nothing! Will is everything! The will to act.” If you’re director Christopher Nolan, you get Neeson for your movie because you’re done with people thinking about Adam West and George Clooney’s nipples when you think of Batman. You want a sage warrior who trains ninjas and can roar when he’s delivering philosophical axioms about the rules and nature of men. If Heath Ledger didn’t change everything as The Joker, we’d be calling Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul one of the best supervillains of all time.
Liam Neeson Fights Nazis – “Schindler’s List” (Netflix)
Neeson can make as many mindless “Taken” movies as he wants and will still have prestige movie cache because of “Schindler’s List” alone. What sets him apart as an action star is his quiet intensity and eloquence with language. I’d like to imagine what Neeson really means in this clip is that you know he has power because he COULD break your nose, but chooses not to.
Liam Neeson Fights (and Loses To) Daniel Day-Lewis – “Gangs of New York” (Netflix, Amazon, Showtime)
If Neeson has to get beat by anyone, we’re glad it’s Daniel Day-Lewis. But is there another actor on the planet who would look as awesome, let alone believable, going into a street fight with an iron cross?
Liam Neeson Fights With a Sword – “Rob Roy” (TubiTV)
The final duel in “Rob Roy” is up there with the most underrated fight scenes of all time. It’s quiet and isn’t showy but is absolutely heavy. Neeson looks clumsy but devastating fighting Tim Roth’s more nimble fop. He never makes the first move, he takes his licks in stride, and he has the best, most unforgiving face as he simply takes hold of his opponent’s flimsy rapier and ends it.
Liam Neeson Fights God – “Silence” (Hulu, Amazon, Epix)
Scorsese’s “Silence” is a perilous spiritual journey about how a man’s faith is tested and how the worst circumstances force even the best men to abandon it. So it seems merciful that after two hours of punishment, we finally get some Neeson. But instead he flips on his Irish pastor wisdom just so he can drive the final stake in the cross.
Liam Neeson Fights Wolves – “The Grey” (Rent Only)
Believe it or not, “Liam Neeson Fights Wolves” makes for an even better movie than you’d expect. Joe Carnahan’s film is a frigid assault on your senses, and the immense lines on Neeson’s face are a stark reminder of his character’s slow march towards death. This ending scene lends a heavy emotional climax for an already grim movie.
Liam Neeson Fights Kidnappers – “Taken” (Rent Only)
The “special set of skills” scene is so great that “A Walk Among the Tombstones” would make a point of finding a way to get Neeson threatening people over the phone again. But the pummeling action scene when he finds that unlucky soul on the other end of his phone call is one of his best moments.
Liam Neeson Fights Kidnappers AGAIN - “Taken 2” (FXNow)
There’s a little bit more Jason Bourne in Neeson’s Bryan Mills come “Taken 2,” in which HE’S the one now taken hostage along with his wife. One of the film’s opening fight sequences is a quick chase through a crowded Istanbul street and Neeson showing what he can do hand-to-hand.
Liam Neeson Fights His Deformed Face – “Darkman” (Crackle)
“Darkman” is Neeson at his most unhinged and campy best. Take your pick of one of this movie’s absurd moments of adrenaline, like Neeson cackling “Burn in Hell” after crashing a helicopter. But I most enjoy seeing him lose his mind and snap a guy’s finger in half over a fluffy pink elephant.
Liam Neeson Fights His Urges – “Kinsey” (HBO Go)
If “Darkman” is Neeson at his wildest, “Kinsey” is Neeson at his nerdiest, a surprising bit of off-type casting. In playing the famed sex professor Alfred Kinsey, he has a slightly higher voice, talks faster and finds a way to look dopey in a bowtie. But Neeson’s intimidating nature makes him ideal for provoking the controversy in Kinsey’s overly academic approach to sex.