Liam Neeson knows when he’s beaten. This Friday the accomplished actor and born-again cinematic pugilist returns as CIA operative Bryan Mills in Taken 2. In the original film he ran through about two dozen Albanian bad guys who attempted to sell his daughter into slavery. This time around the father of the bad men seeks revenge on Mills for leaving half of his family in body bags. So what does this stunt double for the Dos Equis Man do? Kidnap Bryan’s wife, played by Famke Janssen. Sound plausible?
“When I first read the script I said ‘oh come on,’” Neeson confessed at a junket for the film. However, the prospect of visiting Instanbul and getting to kill a few more bad guys got him on board for the project. But does he think they’ll squeeze out one more flick for a trilogy? We think he has a dog they could take.
“I think this is the end, ” he says flatly. “How many times can she be taken?”
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It’s always good to quit while you’re ahead, which is one of the things that has made Neeson’s recent roles so memorable, especially the ass-kickers. From Star Wars and Gangs Of New York to Taken and The Grey, Liam Neeson has demonstrated an apt nack for survival. Here are some of the jewels he’s gleaned from putting foot to ass.
FIGHT YOUR OWN BATTLES
I do my own fights, but I don’t do my own stunts. My stunt double does all the flying through glass, jumping off buildings and such. But I do my own fighting. It’s my claim to fame.
KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS
I loved the fight I had with Christian Baile in Batman Beings because we were on this glacier in Iceland. We had these glacier wranglers believe it or not. So when we were fighting with a reduced crew the glacier wranglers would say everybody off. We’d stand to the side and you’d hear this beautiful blew glacier moving maybe a quarter of an inch. You’d hear the ice grrrrring and when it stopped the guys would say “ok you can go on again.”
KNOW YOUR LIMITS…THEN SURPASS THEM
I don’t study martial arts. [My fighting style] is a combination of techniques [from] the stunt coordinator, who is an ex French Special Forces soldier. The close hand-to-hand combat stuff. My sport as a kid was boxing so Iv’e got a reasonably strong physical discipline for it. Every night after we wrapped we were training with these amazing stunt guys basically learning a dance. You start off very slow, throwing his punch and that…then maybe the day before we shoot the thing we actually do it blindfolded with each other. So by the time we get on the floor it’s like breathing. That’s what we aim for.
STAY IN SCHOOL
Geometry? I was very slow in maths. [But] Geometry I actually enjoyed. The [location skills] are based on stuff they do with these special forces. They take em somewhere blindfolded and say “You’ve got two hours to find your way back.” I know it sounds crazy doesn’t it.
KEEP YOUR WEAPONS
I have quite a few swords from Ridley’s film. He gave me a beautiful sword. Gangs Of New York I’ve got that sword. Bits of armor. I have a light saber too. The one I actually used. George [Lucas] allowed me to have it.
Taken 2 is in theaters this Friday: