Sunday, March 19, 2017

What Has Liam Neeson Wrought? by Stuart R. West

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Liam Neeson has single-handedly revolutionized the plots of suspense thrillers. Not necessarily in a good way, either.

But, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. The shocking, highly researched results of my studies may surprise you...
Over the holidays, my wife and I were traveling to Oklahoma and got bored. On her IPad, I sought out the most critically acclaimed films of the year that we needed to see. That grew predictably dull. Yes, the movies are supposed to be good for you. So are lima beans, doesn't make 'em any more tasty. So for grins, we ventured over into the worst reviewed films of the year.

Much more fun. And very eye-opening.

Several actors popped up three or four times each. And none of these films ever made it into theaters. I got excited.
Nicolas Cage! Bruce Willis! John Travolta! Pierce Brosnan (I always confuse him with the Perfect Strangers "Belki" guy.)! These actors...several academy award nominated...apparently have shifted into direct to DVD territory. The winds of change.

Oddly enough, all of them appear in a crummy movie with plots that go like this: "Rock Hardguy is an ex Navy Seal. Bad guys have kidnapped his son. Rock won't stop 'til he gets his son back. And cause all kinds of mayhem and destruction--call it collateral damage--doing so."
Thank you, Liam Neeson! This guy cornered the market, made revenge a genre unto itself. And he just won't quit. There's even a TV series based on the Taken movie series. Seriously, how many times can one father's kids be kidnapped? 

The above-mentioned actors are all prancing onto Liam's bloody turf. Keanu Reeves, of all people, got into the act, violently enacting revenge over his dead dog ("Whoa. Dude you killed my dog.").

First of all: kids, if your dad's Liam Neeson, seek emancipation. Second, are people really watching all of these ridiculous revenge films? Is this the future of suspense books? Personally, as a parent, I can't think of anything less entertaining than reading about a kidnapped child.

And when did Liam Neeson become a tough guy? Wasn't he kinda' a Shakespearean, hoity-toity actor, all up in art and what-all? What's next, the brothers from Fraser in a Death Wish remake?
Anyway, my wife and I tried to watch some of these awful movies. Wine helped, but didn't quite diffuse the stink. We cringed while Kevin Spacey turned into a cat. We sighed as John Travolta played a redneck power and light man whose brother is electrocuted in a tragic line accident (and do I have to tell you he raised his arms in the rain and screamed, "Nooooooo!"?). I slept when Nic Cage flew a plane while the rest of the world was whisked away by the Rapture. And, of course, the endless revenge flicks.

So thank you, Liam. Thanks a whole lot!
Wholesome fun even Grandma won't hate (totally).