Liam Neeson turned 60 this year. In his six decades, he has masqueraded as a bandaged superhero, battled wolves with broken bottles, planned the downfall of a city, released a Kraken and saved his daughter from sex slavery. Say what you will about Neeson, but you can’t deny that he is an absolute badass. This weekend, he will save his daughter all over again in Taken 2 (out Oct. 5). Talk about persistence. In honor of his achievements, we’ve assembled a list of his most badass roles to date, complete with video proof. So get watching, then vote on your favorite below!
1. Darkman: Before Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, Neeson was sporting bandages as director Sam Raimi’s very own superhero. In Darkman, Neeson stars as Dr. Peyton Westlake, a scientist who’s left hideously burned after being attacked by the henchmen of a merciless mobster. The clip below is a great fight scene in which Neeson is recognizable as himself, but I highly suggest you check out this chopper ride as well.
2. Batman Begins: After playing a superhero for Darkman, Neeson took a, well, darker turn as Ducard aka Ra’s al Ghul in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s watch him face off against the Caped Crusader looking dapper in a suit the whole time.
3. The A-Team: Neeson flies a tank in this remake of the 1983 TV series. ‘Nough said.
4. The Grey: Talk about being a survivalist. In this movie, Neeson tapes broken glass to his knuckles to fight an alpha wolf. Also, this scene kind of makes me cry. (He’s an emotional badass!)
5. The Chronicles of Narnia: Neeson voices Aslan in the 2005-2010 film adaptations of C. S. Lewis’ seven-book series. Take that wolves, he’s a lion.
6. Schindler’s List: He saves 1100 people as Oskar Schindler… and he cries because he couldn’t save more. While it’s not the Arnold Schwarzenegger school of badass, it’s nothing to turn our noses up at. Schindler is a real hero.
7. Unknown: This movie capitalized on Neeson’s Taken fame, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining (well, maybe a little). In this clip, Neeson drives a car backwards in a foreign city while trying to escape bad guys.
8. The Phantom Menace: You know exactly which scene I’m going to post. The only point against Neeson’s badassness here is that he dies (and maybe the hair). In the words – word? – of Obi-Wan, NOOOOOOO!
9. Clash of the Titans: Mortals, don’t get on his bad side. Also, Neeson’s playing a god, specifically Zeus, the ruler of all gods. If that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.
10. Taken: This is the role that really established Neeson as an action hero. Who would have thought to cast a mid-fifties Irishman in a role made for Bruce Willis? Luc Beeson, that’s who. Enjoy the phone call speech – with lyrics!
BONUS: Just so were not too scared of him, watch this quick clip of a young Neeson in the delightful comedy High Spirits, where he plays a horny ghost. (Unfortunately, I could only find this in Italian. Yet, it somehow makes it that much more entertaining.)
Whew, that was the perfect palette cleanser after all that serious badassness. So PopWatchers, it’s up to you. Vote for your favorite or tell me what role you think is Neeson’s most badass in the comments below.