The movie career/trend with Liam Neeson continues. Momentum from the strength of the extremely good movie Taken, released in 2008, Neeson has made around 50 movies since then, and none of them come even close to the quality of Taken. One way of looking at this is that so many movies since Taken that are average or below average makes everyone appreciate how good Taken was 14 years ago. Another way of looking at this is, why is Neeson making so many average and bad movies? He has probably made more movies by far, than any other actor in Hollywood. Is it better to wait and then make a high quality production or risk damaging your career by making so many movies that are lower quality?
After seeing “Memory” – about a hit man with Alzheimer’s involved with a complicated series of hit man contracts – I was wondering how anyone who read this script would understand it, much less greenlight it. So why was this movie made? In this blog I have cited many times my theories of Hollywood deals, paybacks, favors and deals with friends. Quite simply this muddled and bad script should never have been made into a movie, because it is far from good enough. Unfortunately it seems that Neeson is involved in some kind of movie assembly line, where he just continues to act in bad productions (with 4 more in the pipeline) with total disregard to quality. Quantity over quality is never a good idea, within any industry.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Memory is a very low 30% and unfortunately I agree with this very low number and cannot recommend this mostly bad film.
Every year around this time, one can depend on a new Liam Neeson action movie to be released. This is also the time of the year that some of the weakest movies of each year are released. Unfortunately for Neeson just about all of the movies he has made since the huge hit Taken in 2008 have been about him playing just about the same character every time. This is not only the problem with this movie, but is also the main reason for the extremely low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes of only 6%. For the record, this movie is not a 6% rating, but it is not any better than 50% either. We have seen all of this before, with the one exception that this time around Neeson is a fixer of other agents who go rogue and its his job to save them and turn them around.
Other issues with this story is the skipping-around-mix-it-up-confusing scenes that very often are not connected enough, making most of the story annoying. One theory I have always had about Liam Neeson is that he makes so many movies because he is still trying to get over his wife dying in a very tragic freak skiing accident in 2009. Unfortunately, making this many movies and way too many bad ones may eventually wreck his acting career.
There is no way anyone could recommend Backlight, which also has a title that makes no sense.
Ever since the release of “Taken” in 2008, there has probably not been a more prolific actor than Liam Neeson. The problem is that just about all the parts Neeson has taken since his huge hit with Taken, seem to be more or less the same character. This is an error in strategy, with not choosing film roles that would stretch Neeson as an actor. Instead it seems that Neeson is going for the money resulting in roles that blend together, ultimately into nothing memorable enough, considering how good an actor Liam Neeson is.
The idea of “The Ice Road”, released on Netflix is a unique one, probably taken from the TV series “Ice Road Truckers”. There is an accident in a coal mine in Canada where 26 workers are trapped. The only solution is to commission 3 tractor trailers – for redundancy – to transport a machine that can pump poisonous air from the collapsed mine and save the 26 coal miners. The problem is, the only way to this Canadian coal mine via frozen road over lakes, during the most dangerous time of the year.
The main character Mike is played by Neeson, a professional truck driver who lives in barren and cold North Dakota and Gurty, played by Marcus Thomas, who is Mike’s mentally disabled brother, who was injured in the Iraq war. Another trucker Tantoo, played by Amber Midthunder has a brother who is one of the trapped coal miners. Laurence Fishburn has a surprise small part in this film as a manager of a trucking company who also makes the trip across the dangerous ice roads. The main story here is all about corporate greed and cruelty, that any person who has been an employee of a large company can easily recognize. I thought that the story was somewhat convoluted and perhaps overly complicated, but in the end was an effective thriller with a good ending.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for The Ice Road are a very low 47%, which is ridiculous considering the solid story and acting. My rating is 75% and I do recommend this film.