If every movie produced by Hollywood starred Liam Neeson, then nobody would ever complain about bad movies. I came to this conclusion last week after watching Neeson in “The Grey” and, for just a few scenes, “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Neeson has this unique ability to turn his lines in what may have been a subpar screenplay into pure greatness. When he takes on a pack of wolves in “The Grey,” it is he who makes the viewer terrified of the wolves, and not the computer-generated images of the wolves that rival the terribleness of those in the “Twilight” series.
After seeing him battle the wolves for nearly two hours, I went to bed genuinely scared of something as a result of watching a movie. “The Grey” isn’t even a horror movie – a genre I usually don’t even bother with anymore because I know nobody will ever top “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” – but Neeson’s acting abilities were good enough for me to admit to my wife that going outside that night was not on a list of things I was willing to do.
I first recognized Neeson’s greatness a few years ago after seeing “Taken,” a by-the-numbers kidnapping thriller that somehow was better than most movies that year simply because it involved Liam Neeson kicking the butt of the people who took his daughter.
In some ways, the movie made him the new Chuck Norris, except this Chuck Norris can act.