For awhile there, it looked like Liam Neeson was officially typecast as the "wise, older mentor figure who will probably die to give our hero motivation to win the day," a sad fate for an actor of his caliber. Thankfully, Neeson managed to force his way past that rough patch and, even though he's pushing 60, reinvent himself as an action hero. After the surprise hit 'Taken,' wherein Neeson broke enough bones and shot enough baddies to fill every hospital and morgue in Paris, he had the incredibly fun 'The A-Team,' wherein he managed to chomp a cigar with just as much aplomb as George Peppard. Now, he's back to kick all the asses (but not take names because Mr. Neeson doesn't care who you are after he's snapped your puny neck) in Jaume Collet-Serra's 'Unknown.'
When Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) is in a car accident, he awakens from a four-day-long coma only to realize that another man has taken over his life and that his wife ('Mad Men's January Jones) doesn't know who he is. Of course, this is a mystery that can apparently be solved through car chases and punchings, so Harris proceeds to do just that. The trailer (which you can watch after the jump) looks like a delightful mash-up of 'The Bourne Identity,' 'Taken' and Roman Polanksi's 'Frantic', and if the story is as wonderfully wacky and the direction as slick as Collet-Serra's previous film, 'Orphan,' this could be something to get excited about.
Some may wish Neeson would make a return to the serious roles and the prestige films that made his name, but he's at a point in his career where being an action star makes complete sense. He's handsome but imposing, a marquee face with the build of a true brawler. No one ever really believes that Tom Cruise in 'Mission: Impossible' could actually be a super-spy, but watch Neeson in 'Taken' and you'll see a man who actually looks capable of crushing your puny head and throwing your body through a window. He has the look of a world weary professional, a man who's seen a lot, learned a lot and will teach all you kids a thing or two about the fine art of kicking ass.
Liam Neeson can make action movies until he's in his 70s. He's built for this. Unknown hits theaters on January 7th, 2011.