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.)

Continue reading “Liam Neeson’s ‘Non-Stop’ demonstrates the Rise of the Ageing Action Hero”

Next stop – book burning. Who’s with me?

I’m assuming no-one…? Except possibly our obtuse and uncultured new Coalition Government. From what murky depths did the idea to abolish the UK Film Council crawl from, who took it as a serious proposition, and most importantly, why on earth did they follow through with it?

Yes, the country is in debt. We’ve all been informed of this swirling black hole of doom that needs plugging with the tax payers hard earned money. But culture; music, art, and film are not for sale.

There are a plethora of reasons why the axing of the Film Council is destructive. Besides the obvious jobs it already provides, the future jobs it would have provided and the funding it could have offered to further exciting projects in film, the blow is symbolic of the Government’s failure to appreciate the value and necessity of art and culture, without which there’s not much point to anything.

Liam Neeson (Taken) pretty much hit the nail on the head when he spoke out against the move, saying:

“We need movies. It’s a powerful industry that provides a credible entertainment for millions of people and I think it is wrong, I just think it is wrong for the government [to do this].
I know we need to tighten our belts but not with our movie council. They can’t, we need it. It is a lifeblood for any culture.”

Lord David Puttnam, President of the FDA and producer of The Killing Fields, also disapproves, cited by the BBC as saying:

“Over the past decade, the Film Council has been a layer of strategic glue that’s helped bind the many parts of our disparate industry together. It is sure to be widely missed, not least because the UK cinema industry is in the midst of a fundamental transformation at the heart of which is digital roll-out.”

Whilst it is believed that funding will continue, there is currently no strategy in place to accommodate that, and it’s anticipated that there is unlikely to be one for at least the next six months. It seems the Government are out to prove just how disconnected from the British people they really are. Thanks Jeremy…

If there is any doubt in your mind regards the UK Film Council’s value, it has supported over 900 British films in the past ten years and has aided the British Film Industry’s growth as one of the biggest export success stories. Simply take a look at some of the numerous films made with their backing; The Last King of Scotland, In The Loop, Vera Drake, Fish Tank, Man on Wire, Touching the Void, Bend It Like Beckham…