Liam Neeson to Bark Orders at Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in ‘Men In Black’

Neeson continues to pay his bills with franchise dollars.

The time has come for Liam Neeson to retire his particular set of skills. The actor who found new life as an action star in the Taken franchise is looking for a breather from his arduous Hollywood workouts. The Commuter, Run All Night, Taken 3, Non-Stop, Battleship, Taken 2, Wrath of the Titans, The Grey, The A-Team, Clash of the Titans… a few of those are actually good, one is even downright brilliant. What about Non-Stop, though?

Seeing Neeson pop up recently in Martin Scorsese’s Silence was a jolt to the system. I remember this guy. Oskar Schindler, Rob Roy, Michael Collins. Neeson is a powerhouse performer with a key to opening our empathy. He’s one of the greats, and he deserves films that will offer him the space to strut the full range of his talent.

But bills got to get paid.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Neeson has entered negotiations to join Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the new Men in Black reboot. Not much is known regarding the specific plot of the film, but we do know that the story will revolve around a new pair of agents fighting to save the word from galactic invaders. We’re also told that Neeson will portray the head of the MIB’s London organization. Rip Torn! Part Deux.

Does this news send us into a frenzy of getting jiggy with it? No. Neeson screaming orders at Hemsworth and Thompson seems to fit but does not excite as much as it does legitimize the project. Adding talent is always the right move, and Neeson can only improve the set dressing being designed by director F. Gary Gray.

Hemsworth and Thompson are the draw here. When they were initially announced, we got pretty gosh darn giddy. The Thor: Ragnarok co-stars are a proven commodity. We’ve seen how electric their chemistry can be on screen. They’re a buddy-cop duo worthy of the very best Lethal Weapon sequel, and you can already imagine the kinetic friction they’ll spark as MIB agents.

For Neeson, this franchise offers him comfort. He’s spent 10 years cashing badass paychecks, and his body probably can’t take it anymore. Who the hell wants to spend their sixties getting jacked in the gym. Hell, I don’t want to spend one second with a push-up and I’m half his age. Sitting behind the desk, barking demands at Hemsworth and Thompson is a quick buck to hold him over while he scrounges for another Silence.

We reported earlier this month that Neeson would be stretching beyond his comfort zone for Charlie Johnson in the Flames. Yes, it’s another thriller, but one that might require a little more than hollow point headshots. After witnessing the death of an innocent woman in the Congo, Neeson’s war correspondent must reconsider his role as a global citizen. There will be punching, but hopefully the fists will pack some substance.

Neeson also has Steve McQueen’s Widows right around the corner. That’s the film I might get jiggy over. From the brain that spawned Hunger and 12 Years a Slave, four crime boss widows conspire to take control of the Chicago underworld? Yeah. Most definitely. I am there for that.

Brad Gullickson: @@MouthDork Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.