In the new thriller Run All Night, Liam Neeson plays a gravelly-voiced, gun-wielding man attempting to save his son’s life. Sound familiar? Since his meteoric rise after 1993’s Schindler’s List, he’s made a name for himself as the foremost tough guy in American cinema. In honor of Run All Night’s release today, we’re taking a look back at his definitive ass-kicking roles.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Neeson expertly wielded a lightsaber as Qui-Gon Jinn, but still ultimately met his end at the hands of Sith Lord Darth Maul.
Gangs of New York
As “Priest” Vallon, the leader of the Irish immigrant gang, his weapons of choice were a sword and a large iron cross.
Okay, no actual physical fighting was involved. But as widower dad Daniel, he coached his son through his first spell of unrequited love and kicked the greatest foe of all -- childhood insecurity -- in the ass.
Neeson doesn’t always play the hero, like when he took up as R’as Al Ghul. But he did still have a very particular set of skills.
His role as retired CIA operative Bryan Mills solidified his place as America’s #1 action dad.
As John “Hannibal” Smith, he was really, really good at breaking out of prisons.
His character John Ottway spent the film in the Alaskan wilderness fighting wolves. Neeson is one of the only actors who could make this scenario somewhat believable.
As Bryan Mills again, he proves that he’s great at kicking ass, but terrible at hanging on to his family.
A Walk Among the Tombstones
Matthew Scudder served up justice, and ass-kickings.
How many times can a man be taken? Third time’s a charm, apparently.
Photos by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP