Liam Neeson’s ‘Non-Stop’ demonstrates the Rise of the Ageing Action Hero

Tomorrow sees Liam Neeson’s return as yet another antique action hero in Non-Stop [1], the story of an air marshall whose passenger flight is held hostage to the tune of $150m. Since 2008 hit Taken reminded audiences that the older gent can still kick ass and hold his own at the box office, Neeson, 61, has starred in a spate of action flicks including The A-Team, Unknown and Taken 2, and is showing no signs of slowing, with Taken 3 already announced [2] and lead roles in upcoming action thrillers A Walk Among The Tombstones (fall 2014) and Run All Night (2015). Whilst Neeson initially dismissed the possibility of reprising his character, Bryan Mills, in a third Taken movie, joking, “that’s just bad parenting,” he was reportedly enticed back to the role with a handsome $20 million cheque [3]. Nice work if you can get it, but the real question is: why can he get it? Why is Hollywood paying out sums of that scale for action stars in their twilight years? One thing is clear, Neeson is far from the only oldie picking up the gun; there are plenty of other stars clamouring to put the silver back in silverscreen…

Arnold Schwarzenegger, or affectionately, “Arnie”, 66, exploded back in to cinemas after his political hiatus in action ensemble blow-ups, The Expendables and The Expendables 2. He subsequently manned the minigun in The Last Stand and then again reunited with Sylvester Stallone, 67, for more high-octane action in last year’s Escape Plan. Not to be left out, The Expendables 3 will see Harrison Ford, 71, joining the current posse alongside Mel Gibson, 58, who, despite leading the excellent and criminally underrated prison thiller, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, a few years ago, isn’t exactly bankable these days. (In fact, given his chequered and controversial past, for many it’s a mystery his career has even survived this long. I, for one, thought The Beaver was his death knell.)

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Where you going, darling?

Question: At what age do women begin using terms of endearment to totally unfamiliar strangers?

I’m 22. I don’t know of any girls in my age group who add “my love/ lovey/ my dear” or similar, to the end of a sentence except those on an acting course, and they’re drama students, it would be weird if they didn’t.

I’m not complaining. In a way I like it. It’s a friendly mannerism in a world that usually treats strangers stand-offishly. I’m just wondering at what point it all starts…

It’s definitely a female thing. There are few men that aren’t perverts or, to poach a Peter Kay phrase, uncle nobheads that would do something similar. It could be that men simply aren’t that nice, or it could be that they lack confidence. It could even be that they just don’t want to be labelled perverts or uncle nobheads. Or just nobheads.

Maybe your perception changes as you grow older. Perhaps I’ll reach an age one day when I’ll wake up and see young people differently. Somehow they will all appear charming and sweet and I’ll be inclined to stop at the side of the road to pick up a girl hitchhiker and I’ll wind down the window, remove my shades and say: Where you going, darling?

No. That would still be weird.