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No one has been able to quite replicate the throat-punching intensity of Liam Neeson's first action hero effort, 2009's brazen and silly and great Taken. But that's not going to stop a lot of people from continuing to try, and Jaume Collet-Serra may be trying hardest of all. His 2011 film Unknown was essentially "Taken goes to Berlin," and though it was some silly fun in its own right, it couldn't hold a candle to either the style or global grosses of Pierre Morel's original film. And now that Neeson is set to star in Taken 2 later this year, he's also going to team up again with Collet-Serra, in the continuing efforts to prove just who can make Neeson the biggest badass on earth.
Well, make that the biggest badass in the sky. According to Variety Neeson will be starring for Collet-Serra in Non-Stop, playing a man forced to stop a threat aboard an international flight. Before we go any further, let's just stop and acknowledge what we're all thinking:
Can Neeson really top that? Well, he's got a better shot than most. Taken really did establish him as an unlikely action star, a soulful hero who will punch the bad guy, but only in the name of what's important and right. In The Grey earlier this year he took that reputation even further, as a suicidal sniper who's stuck in the wilderness after a plane crash, and sees no choice but to help his cohorts survive. Yes, it all feels a long way from Oskar Schindler and Alfred Kinsey, but when someone finds their calling like this, how can you deny it?
And while Air Force One has pretty much been the definitive "badass on a plane" action movie, it's also more than 15 years old. If Non-Stop turns out as genial and fine as Unknown, it'll be worth it; if Collet-Serra and Neeson can up their game a little bit, Harrison Ford's iconic Air Force One moment might be unseated at last.