The Annual Liam Neeson Action Film: A New Favorite Tradition.6/10
Ahh yes...the time has come for one of my fairly recent favorite traditions...the annual release of a Liam Neeson movie where he is just being a bad a**. Ever since "Taken", the world has been re- introduced to Neeson as it's newest and truest action hero. For the most part during this little resurrection for Neeson, you know that despite any flaws the film might have, it ends up being great entertainment regardless and you overlook those things. The only minor grievance that one might have during this tradition, is that as much as you don't want to admit it, some of these Neeson movies just aren't as good.
Now before we go any further we have to discuss the exact trend of the Neeson films. I am only including the movies where Neeson is, for the most part, the only star and he is playing some grizzled, world weary, growling bad a** with a checkered past. This exempts movies like "The A-Team", "Clash/Wrath of the Titans", and ugh...."Battleship".....dear lord that was terrible....although it it is always nice to see Rihanna trying to be a bad a**, "Aloha, mother f***er!". Anyway, you get the picture. As for the examples of slightly less awesome Neeson bad a** movies, these are the ones like "Unknown", and some may even say "Non-Stop" but I actually enjoyed that one.
"A Walk Among the Tombstones" falls into that category. Many will go into this movie looking to see Neeson kicking dudes a**es left and right and they may be sorrily disappointed. "Tombstones" is more about the detective story and the darkness that the characters descend into as the film progresses. Neeson plays Matt Scudder, a retired cop/alcoholic turned P.I. after a case 8 years ago that left him emotionally and psychologically scarred. He is brought to meet drug dealer (excuse me, "trafficker") Kenny Kristo (worse drug kingpin name ever?) who wants to hire him to find the two men who kidnapped and murdered his wife despite paying them the money they asked for. Scudder, along with a spunky, homeless kid T.J, fish around for clues. Their relationship is interesting at first because it's unclear as to why Scudder continues to come into contact with this kid besides the fact that perhaps by helping this kid, he can make up for a lot of sins he has committed in his past.
The film can be slow at times, but Neeson is almost in every scene and his presence alone keeps you engaged in every step he takes. As you get closer and closer to the truth the film gets more disturbing. This film is unnerving for sure and is a mental disturbance more than anything. Even though it may not be as action packed as some of Neesons' past films (The Grey still doesn't get enough love) but it may be a pleasant surprise for other reasons. One of Americas guilty pleasures is loving serial killers (Dexter, The Killing, Hannibal, films and series, Se7en, etc.) so people may actually enjoy the film but for a completely different reason then they previously thought.
Oh, and don't worry, Liam still has some clever "bad a** one-liners" keeping up with the tradition...Can't wait till next year.
I joyously await your criticism for my overuse of bad a**.