The words “Liam Neeson” and “badass” go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Neeson is to Ireland what Sean Connery is to Scotland: easily the most badass mofos to come out of their respective states. It would make sense then, that most of Liam’s film roles involve him playing some sort of action hero, whether it be as a Greek God, Lion Christ, or Jedi Knight. Would it surprise you to learn then, that most of Neeson’s “heroic” film roles actually paint him as an evil bastard in disguise?
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Liam really only ever played a villain in Batman Begins, in which he played the Gotham Destroying Super Ninja Ra’s Al Ghul. The rest of the time, he’s a mind bending, beard wearing, bad guy ass whupper, right? Well, let’s examine some of his more prominent films, starting with what is agreed to be his most iconic movie: Schindler’s List. We can all agree that by the end of the movie, Neeson is a hero, but what about at the beginning of the movie? How many actors do you know of that fall under the category of “Nominated for Best Actor for portraying a Goddamn Nazi?” The list is pretty short. Sure, Schindler had a change of heart midway through the movie and started saving Jews, but at the beginning he was a war profiteer who was more than willing to utilize Jewish slave labor if it made him a buck. Also, he was a goddamn Nazi.
But, that’s just one role. Let’s look at other movies he’s done. The movie Taken starred Neeson as a CIA operative who goes apeshit on some Albanian gangsters after they kidnap his daughter to sell her on the sex slave market. Nothing wrong with that premise, perfectly heroic sounding, until you take a look at his methods, which involved wounding innocent women with guns and freaking torturing a guy by strapping electrodes to his nutsack before leaving him like that. Does that or does than not sound like something an evil sonofabitch would do?
In the movie Unknown, he was a freaking assassin who had a change of heart following some badly timed amnesia. If he hadn’t whacked his head in a car crash, who knows how many more people he would have whacked? Who knows how many he had killed previously? In Michael Collins, he was a freaking terrorist in disguise, forming the IRA in assassination squad and murdering the shit out anyone that pissed him off. They aren’t even disguising it at this point.
In The Next Three Days, Gangs of New York, and Les Miserables, he played criminals of one type or another. Hell, in Les Miz his Jean Valjean character walked away from where Captain Barbossa had just thrown himself into the river to keep himself from arresting Neeson with a goddamn smile on his face. In K-19 the Widowmaker, not only was he a Soviet officer, making him one of a few actors to play both kinds of generic Hollywood bad guys in the course of his career, but he was a mutinous officer who imprisoned Harrison Ford, a major no no in cinema. In Rob Roy, he plays a Scotsman who essentially flipped off a nobleman and then hid in the hills, leaving his wife and children at the mercy of the English, and was therefore in a position to do nothing except keep his kilt from riding up while his wife was raped, livestock killed and home burned to the ground. Doesn’t seem so heroic, does it?
Now we’re getting into the real evil in disguise roles here. In Clash of the Titans, he portrayed Zeus, king of the Gods, and extremely pissed off that the humans wouldn’t worship him anymore. So what does he do? He sends his total dick of a brother Hades down there to mess them up a little and when it turns out that the whole thing was orchestrated by Hades as part of a hostile takeover via Kraken ass kicking, what did Zeus do? Unless you count standing in the middle of his Olympian palace with his shiny armor in a dramatic fashion, absolutely NOTHING. Seems a little dickish to me.
But, you say, what about Aslan from Chronicles of Narnia? He’s the Lion Christ! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that character! True, until you consider that even with all his godly lion powers and such he decided the best course of action was to arm a bunch of schoolchildren with medieval weaponry and sent them off to fight evil hordes while he sat on his ass preaching morality and waiting till the last minute to show up and save everyone’s ass.
Now, we come to one last role, that we bet you think we can’t possibly connect with any sort of chicanery: Qui-Gon Jinn. Jedi Knight, peacekeeper, one with the Force, died a martyr to protect the innocent. The exact opposite of evil, right? Actually, Qui-Gon may be the most evil character Neeson has ever portrayed. Try to remember the plot of the Phantom Menace for a moment. Go on, swallow your disgust and think about it. Who was it that discovered Anakin Skywalker, the future murderer of children as Darth Vader? Qui-Gon. Who was the only one that wanted him trained, even when Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Mace Windu wouldn’t touch the kid? Qui-Gon. Who insisted with his dying breath that the future most evil being in the galaxy be given the tools to destroy the Jedi and plunge the galaxy into a generation of darkness and tyranny. Why, that’d be Qui-Gon too. So, really, when you think about it, the man ultimately responsible for the founding of the Empire, the doom of the Jedi, and Alderaan being blown to smithereens is…….Liam Neeson.
So there you have it. Liam Neeson is the most evil man this world has ever known, and he shows it to us in every film role he plays. Now that you see it too, we must work together to stop Liam before he becomes our evil overlord, but first, let’s see what kind of ass he kicks in his next movie, because isn’t he just an awesome action hero?