Liam Neeson gets his zimmer frame nicked by a gang of young whipper-snappers who have a diabolical scheme to solve the impending pension crisis in the EU. Their plan is to squeege all the Neeson sweat, spittle and other miscellaneous fluids off the zimmer before melting it down for syringes to inject the Neeson effluent into all the other old people’s dinner-time mush. Neeson’s juices contain superhuman, strong, silent and stiff upper-lipped compounds which are so awesomely potent and dynamic that they will cause all the fogeys in Europe to spontaneously combust, thus ending the pension crisis and drowning Bournemouth in an ocean of arthritic, liver-spotted offal.
So Neeson gets in his suped-up Rascal and sets off on a perilous journey to rescue his soiled zimmer. Said journey takes place for the most part on a gentle downward slope around a few of the more ergonomically enlightened of Europe’s suburban towns, ideally those which possess excellent public transport links and are over 75% wheelchair accessible.
We crowbar in a few underwhelming fight scenes captured with the sort of deft camera-work commonly reserved only for Steven Seagal films, i.e. a rapid flurry of close-up shots showing a blur of hand and foot strikes so it looks like there is some serious action going down. This despite the fact that, in reality, both protagonists are prevented from coming within arm’s length of one another by the immensity of their guts, neither can lift his feet above shin height and the precariousness of toupees, trusses and teeth renders any sort of outlandish (frankly ostentatious) jumping or ducking out of the question.
Please note: Seagal has a clause in performance contract which states that under no circumstances can he ever be hit, kicked, shot, blown-up, outsmarted, outquipped, placed in the remotest danger of losing or even momentarily bested in any way by any class of opponent.
This rule of thumb does not apply here. In fact, for Neeson’s chief talent – having the most disconsolate face on the planet – to be fully unleashed, he must have his bollocks repeatedly trampled beneath the boot-heels of injustice. Hysterical ex-wives, spoiled teenage daughters, officious chief inspectors and unscrupulous, human-trafficking (preferably very obviously foreign) gangster types all have vital roles to play in ensuring that Neeson gets nagged, henpecked, double-crossed, slapped around and generally buffeted by iniquity at every turn. This also allows us to throw in plenty of shots of him looking, in the grittiest and most stolid way, as if someone is giving his pubes a vicious tweezing.
Incidentally, this cheaply bought pathos may help take the edge off the fact that Neeson often prefers sidestep the usual “good-guy” rituals of diplomacy and self-defence and proceed straight to shooting his antagonists in the face the moment things get a bit eggy.
Anyway, Neeson gets his zimmer back leaving thousands slaughtered and racking up billions in collateral damage despite the fact that he genuinely struggles to jog up a very gentle incline*.
The central conceit: he’s old.
*Seriously, check out that bit in Taken I where he’s chasing some French bloke up a motorway bridge (right before said French bloke gets mashed by a lorry) and for a split second, the director kisses his career adieu by neglecting to edit out a shot of Neeson “running”. Looks like a salsa-dancing camel.