There are a few things we can count on in life: Death, taxes, and a new action movie starring Liam Neeson as a man out to avenge his loved ones.
Cold Pursuit just hit theatres and could have been just another formula entry in that blockbuster genre — basically, Neeson’s smash hit Taken franchise, but with the names and locations changed. Instead, I was surprised by how fresh and funny Cold Pursuit is.
Critics were too — until Liam Neeson dared to share a harrowing personal anecdote in a promotional interview. On the topic of revenge, Neeson shared a story from his long-ago past:
Neeson had just come back from overseas to find out about the rape [of a close friend]. “She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson says. “But my immediate reaction was…” There’s a pause. “I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.
“I went up and down areas with a cosh [baton], hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could,” another pause, “kill him.”
Neeson clearly knows what he’s saying, and how shocking it is, how appalling. (…)
He deliberately withholds details to protect the identity of the victim. “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he says.
In other words: Neeson, having established himself onscreen as the guy who avenges the innocent, learned from painful real life experience that seeking revenge was in fact fruitless and soul-killing.
There’s a lot of irony here…