By Scott T. Sterling
Thanks to the runaway success of 2008 movie Taken, Liam Neeson has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable action heroes, best known for a particular set of skills: stealthily kicking bad-guy ass up and down the big screen with steely-eyed ease, all while delivering lines in his signature Irish brogue.
With a pair of Taken sequels and a series of equally ass-kicking roles since (including this weekend’s new release, Run All Night), Neeson’s reputation as cinema’s revenge-minded superstar has earned the actor a spot in the pop culture pantheon worthy of parody Super Bowl ads and hilarious Key & Peele comedy sketches.
Long before the beat-downs and dry one-liners, though, Neeson was a well-respected movie actor with a 1993 Best Actor Oscar nomination under his belt for Schindler’s List (the award would go to Tom Hanks for Philadelphia).
But even setting aside Schindler’s List, Neeson still has a diverse resume. In fact, he’s starred in quite a few decidedly non-badass movie roles during his career, all of which could come as something of a shock to the generation of filmgoers who only know him as a name-taking butt-kicker. Below are five of our favorites.
1. Satisfaction (1988)
This teen coming of age film follows a mostly female band (complete with Julia Roberts on left-handed bass) looking for their one big break. In this case, that big break comes in the form of Liam Neeson’s club-owning character, Martin Falcon. Neeson gets to hook up with the much-younger Justine Bateman character, and plenty of hilarity and drama ensue en route to the predictably happy ending.
2. Love Actually (2003)
This holiday-themed romantic comedy boasts quite the ensemble cast, with Neeson starring alongside the likes of Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley and Alan Rickman. It has a particularly high creep-factor for being a holiday rom-com, including Neeson’s character helping his young son get over the untimely death of his mother by encouraging him to pursue a love interest who just so happens to share the mother’s name. Ew!