In 2008’s Taken, Neeson created mayhem throughout Europe to free his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), after she was captured by Albanian thugs during a Paris vacation. The film spawned a 2012 sequel, which saw vacationing ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and Mills being taken hostage by revenge-seeking Albanians in Turkey, with Kim just avoiding the attack. Combined, the two films took in more than $285 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
“This time, no more traveling,” says Neeson. “If my daughter was ‘taken’ again on a trip, Bryan Mills would have to be certifiably locked up for bad parenting.”
Neeson makes no bones about the fact that his character fights dirty to make up for his age. During one fight sequence, Mills even commandeers a defibrillator to take out foes.
“Bryan Mills wants to fight quick, using the dirtiest moves possible to finish,” he says. “It’s not like, ‘Put your fists up, fellow!’ Why fight like that when you can kick someone in the kneecap and be done with it?”
The 6-foot-4 former amateur boxer makes clear he enjoys the hand-to-hand screen combat. But he leaves the falls for his longtime stunt coordinator. Neeson throws convincing blows, has a killer phone voice (his “I have a very particular set of skills” line from the first film is a classic) and brings an earnest believability to the role.
“People are attracted to quiet heroes,” says Forest Whitaker, who joins the franchise as a pursuing law enforcement agent. “Liam’s presence has that. He gives people a sense of comfort and security. And he’s an excellent actor.”
Through the deadly cat-and-mouse game, the two never directly battle each other, much to Whitaker’s disappointment. “There’s no big fight between us, which I would have loved,” Whitaker says. “That will have to wait until Taken 4.”
That does not seem likely. Neeson figures the franchise will close out with this third installment, to be called Tak3n. “It’s a rollicking good story,” he says. “But I think this is the end.”
But his action career can live on: A Walk Among the Tombstones opened this weekend and February’s Non-Stop made $91 million in its February opening.
“If I feel audiences saying, ‘Come on, he’s 62, enough is enough,’ I’m very sensitive to that and if I pick up that vibe it will all stop. And I’ll start playing dads or grandfathers,” says Neeson. “But I keep myself pretty fit and my knees are still great. And it’s fun.”
Source: USA Today