12 March 2015

Liam Neeson Plays the Same Character in Every Movie...I Mean this Very Literally

Liam Neeson isn't the only actor who is commonly criticised for playing the same exact character, but he is maybe one of the few in this day and age who makes the same exact movie over and over again. Especially considering the rapid fire succession of A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), Taken 3 (2015), and now Run All Night (2015) debuting today, it's time to talk about this Liam Neeson problem. Now, I don't really care about the detached criticism of him playing the same character over and over again - I want to make the argument that the reason for this is that we have been lied to. We area actually only seeing bits of one story featuring different parts of one character's life. That character is actually Liam Neeson.

So, partly inspired by this canny observation, here is the REAL history of Liam Neeson's actual life, which is all we have been watching until this point in time. Needless to say, there are so many spoilers for every Liam Neeson movie made in the past thirteen years. So, with a really select version of Neeson's recent action films, let's take a look at the Neeson family, starting from the Old Country:
They made surprisingly good movies in 1846

In the early 19th Century, Liam Neeson's great-great-great grandfather arrived in New York City. Taking the name Vallon, he feuded with locals in the Five Points neighborhood, in particular with a gang leader named Bill "The Butcher" Cutting. The Butcher eventually killed Vallon in combat, but not before Vallon birthed a son, Amsterdam Vallon. Eventually, Amsterdam's son would reject the throngs of the city, mostly because he was a homeless bastard, but found much more at home expressing his family's violent tendencies out west. He turned into one of the most dangerous men in the Arizona Territory and the first and only Irishman in the West. To separate himself from his brutal upbringing, he took the name Clinch Leatherwood.

After Clinch, generations would pass without much disaster. That is of course, until June 7, 1952 when a baby Liam Neeson shot his way out of his mother's whom. He nominally took the role of an actor as a cover for a baffling array of roles in the military and law enforcement, but he would mostly reject this and use his specific set of skills as a private mercenary time and time again. He got his start as a police officer, then detective in New York City, but gave that up when he was involved in a bar fight that resulted in him accidentally shooting a seven-year old girl.

Liam look the name Bill Marks and after drowning his sorrows in alcohol, became an Air Marshall. He was hailed as a national hero after a dangerous, bomb-laced flight from New York to London. His faith in government renewed, he joined the Army, dying his hair and changing his name again in order to mask his well-known identity as both the well-respected actor from Schindler's List (1993) and as the savior of British Aqualantic Flight 10. He decided John Smith would be a perfectly reasonable alias, although his close compatriots nicknamed him "Hannibal."

Hannibal and his cronies, though, were set-up by the CIA and estranged from the government, despite their valiant efforts in securing missing U.S. Treasury plates. Calling themselves "The A-Team," Neeson and his gang worked for those who had no one else to turn to. The life wore on Neeson, however, and he longed to again be at peace with his country. He joined the CIA, but in order to protect the rest of the A-Team he took the name Bryan Mills and died his hair again.

Quick! Guess which movie this still is from!
It's impossible!
It was as Bryan Mills that he took a job to assassinate the Prince of Saudi Arabia under the cover of Dr. Martin Harris. Suffering a car accident immediately prior to the job, though, Neeson unknowingly found himself with amnesia. I don't think this was actually CIA work in Unknown (2011), but it could have been...right? They could have used a cover name. Shut up, it fits this stupid post). This job would alienate Neeson from the Agency, though, and he retired. It was then that he met the love of his life, Lenore.

He would have a daughter named Kim with Lenore, but eventually they divorced. Neeson got a job bodyguarding pop stars, but the life pulled him back in. Kim was taken, so Neeson, using the name Mills still, killed a lot of people. Then his wife was taken, so he killed a lot of people again and got her back. Then his wife was killed, which really devastated Neeson. After investigating and avenging her death and seeing his daughter, Kim, pregnant, Neeson left for a job in Alaska fighting wolves.

He took the name John Ottway to distance himself from his tortured past, but was constantly reminded of images of his dying wife. To cope with her murder, he envisioned her slowly succumbing to a lethal disease. After a plane crash, subsequent survival in the harsh wilderness, and yes, some more wolf fights, Neeson set out across the world; a true attempt to leave the world behind.

In Asia he stumbled upon the League of Shadows, who immediately welcomed him in, particularly enamoured with his specific set of skills. They bestowed upon him the name Ra's al Ghul. In his depression and nihilism, he rose through the ranks of the League of Shadows and trained many warriors, including a young Bruce Wayne. That one would come back to haunt him. Bruce Wayne turned his back on the League of Shadows philosophy of burning the world and starting over. Liam Neeson, after his years of pain, betrayal, and hardships was a strong proponent of this insanity. When Bruce learned of Neeson's plan to destroy Gotham City using a train system that turned all of the city's water into fear gas (boy that sounds stupid when stated succinctly), he foiled the plot and killed Neeson.

Or so it would seem. Neeson was injured in the crash but crawled his way to a Lazarus Pit and regained his health. These Ra's al Ghul Lazarus Pits were actually the means by which Liam Neeson has stayed so virile all these years and how he has two fully grown daughters. He sired the second one, Talia while in the League of Shadows. She was also taken from him and raised by Bane in a hole. It was rough but she loved him. It is unknown whether or not Talia and Kim ever got together.

Seeing another chance at life, Neeson reformed and became a career military man. He joined the Navy and quickly rose up the ranks until he earned the rank of Admiral, again changing names to hide his past, this time to Terrence Shane. His polished tenure was marred during an alien attack at a RIMPAC that coincided with the much worse offense of one of his subordinates macking on another daughter of his, Samantha. Samantha was notable for being the only Liam Neeson daughter who wasn't taken, but in the aftermath of the alien invasion, his daughter became engaged to the young Alex Hopper.

Yes, even Battleship.
This turn of events again disillusioned the decorated Admiral, and taking the name Matthew Scudder, tried to forget his life and resist a return to alcoholism. He was eventually wrapped up in a convoluted story about a junkie, some drug dealers, and street rats. He again solved his problems by killing a lot of people. Finally, he is called for some of some actions he took while he was a mercenary assassin under the name of Jimmy Conlon, and has to kill Ed Harris' son. Or Ed Harris is killing his son or something. I haven't seen Run All Night.

At the end of all this, though, Zeus wakes up. See, all of Liam Neeson's life has been a dream. When Zeus dreams he pretends he is Liam Neeson, because we all want to be something more powerful than ourselves. Then Zeus died in Wrath of the Titans for some reason, so Liam Neeson's life is finally put to rest. Or...is it?

For your convenience, here are the films we were able to dissect to pull data about Liam Neeson's actual life and how they are possibly connected. Feel free to debate my order:

Gangs of New York (2002) - Priest Vallon's son, Leo ends up birthing:
A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) - Clinch Leatherwood, dies but his fierce Irish progeny with an appetite for killing everyone would live on.
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) - (1991 scene) Matt Scudder kills a kid
Non-Stop (2014) - Bill Marks, former NYC cop, now an alcoholic Air Marshall
The A-Team (2010) - Hannibal Smith, army leader turned mercenary
Unknown (2011) - Amnesiac assassin, Martin Harris at some point cannot maintain a life on the run and buys his way out through working with a shady organization
Taken (2008) - Bryan Mills, former CIA
Taken 2 (2012)
Taken 3 (2015) - Wife dies
The Grey (2012) - Taking the name Jon Ottway, Liam Neeson flees to fight wolves in the wilderness
Batman Begins (2005) - Ra's al Ghul forms the League of Shadows in his depression
Battleship (2012) - After a guise of death, and filled with awesome stories of wolf-fighting and ninja-army leading, it's a lock that he rises to the rank of Admiral Shane
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) - Matt Scudder retired alcoholic cop
Run All Night (2015)
Clash of the Titans (2010) - all of the preceding was actually Zeus dreaming that he was Liam Neeson
Wrath of the Titans (2012) - Zeus finally dies.

1 comment:

  1. Props to anyone who figures out to work in Qui-Gon Jinn, Aslan, Good Cop, and Darkman. Or Daniel from Love Actually...actually he still has a dead wife in Love Actually. That one probably takes place directly before The Grey.


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