Honest Thief: Liam, it might be time to step back


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Image of the Liam Neeson Honest Thief

Liam Neeson is one of the foremost action movie stars alongside Stallone and Schwarzenegger, though he is a bit more subdued than his fellow icons. The standard Neeson protagonist is a quiet, competent and generally nice guy, usually retired or semi-retired from a career that gave him the particular set of skills required of an action movie protagonist. That is roughly what you get here, though an admittedly weaker version.

            Neeson plays an ex-Marine turned bank robber who decides to go straight with his new girlfriend, played by Kate Walsh. He attempts to cut a deal with a pair of decidedly corrupt FBI agents (Jai Courtney and Anthony Ramos) who steal his loot and frame him for murder. This sends Neeson and Walsh on the run. Along with the antagonist agents, there are a pair of relatively honest FBI agents, played by Robert Patrick and Jeffrey Donovan. The dialogue is poorly written, the action is understated and the story is the screenwriting equivalent of a paint-by-numbers. There was not one moment in the movie where I was surprised, as every supposed twist was obvious from a mile away. Mainly, this is just an excuse to have Neeson run around and say things that are supposed to be intimidating in his gruff and gravelly voice.

            That’s another part where the movie falls a bit flat. Neeson still has the gravitas but the man is 70 years old and starting to show it. Much like Stallone in the latest Rambo film, you can tell the action is a bit restricted by Neeson’s own limitations. The action movie icons still have the acting chops, but it might be time for them to start taking on more roles as mentor-archetypes and let a new generation step forward to handle the fighting – as Stallone did in the recent Creed films.