By Shelby Abbott
Shelby is a Philadelphia based author, emcee, and public speaker. His passion for college ministry has led him to speak at campuses all over the United States and author the books Jacked, I’m Awkward You’re Awkward, and the novel Stand Up: A Perry Simon Story. He has one wife (Rachael), two daughters (Quinn and Hayden), a bulky comic book assemblage, multiple t-shirts, and a rather impressive vinyl LP record collection. For more information about Shelby, his writing, and his ministry, including his blog, you can visit him online at www.shelbyabbott.com.
A friend of mine and I have dubbed 2015 to be “The Year of Movies.” So many (hopefully) wonderful films are coming to theaters this year, and we’re so excited, we’ve planned on saving all of our ticket stubs, ending in December with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
But how did we begin the year of movies, you might wonder? With the obligatory Liam Neeson mid-winter film, of course! And 2015 started with a bang in Taken 3. Now, I’m not going to lie and say that this was a great movie (it currently sits at 11% on Rotten Tomatoes—ouch), but I knew what I was getting into when I entered the theater last week to see it. And since my expectations were gloriously low, I actually really enjoyed it.
Liam Neeson is an interesting actor. For one, Schindler’s List was released back in 1993, and he honestly doesn’t look much older now than he did when he acted in that movie over 20 years ago. Second, other than Star Wars:The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins (which I wouldn’t really label as purely action films), Liam didn’t become an action movie star until the original Taken came out in 2008. That’s right—the man became an action film star at the age of 56! That’s incredible! I’m only 38 years old, and I’ve already got issues with sciatica.
But I mentioned Taken, and that movie really was the turning point for Liam Neeson. It propelled him into another category altogether in the eyes of the movie-goer, making him both kick-butt cool, and intensely trustworthy. Let me explain what I mean.
In Taken, Liam Neeson plays Brian Mills, an ex-CIA agent with a teenage daughter who gets kidnapped in Europe to be sold into the sex-trade industry. Brian Mills spends the entire movie going after his daughter to try and rescue her before she is lost forever. In the process of getting her back, he is astoundingly competent in his methods, and executes precise judgement on any person responsible for taking his little girl. I believe those two variables (great competency and righteous judgement), are the character qualities responsible for charming audiences and launching Liam Neeson’s career as an action star.
The reason we love Liam Neeson is because we love the character of Brian Mills. He is the father we all really want. A daddy who will stop at nothing to protect his child and rescue her from danger. A parent who knows how to get things done in the name his kid’s safety, righting the wrongs of evil along the way to restore his little girl’s rightful place by his side. We love it! Great competency and righteous judgement.
In fact, we love it so much, we’re willing to pay to go see two more movies with Brian Mills as the star, even though we know those two sequels won’t even come close to measuring up to the original. And they didn’t, by the way.
We want a dad like Brian Mills because we are made to long for a Dad who will do all those wonderful things for us, the way he did for his daughter on screen. All of us want to be pursued. We all want to be rescued. We all need the comfort and safety of resting in our Daddy’s arms, with the full knowledge that He has put His own life on the line to bring us back home.
We’re made for that, and we have that exact relationship…if we only ask for it. Our Daddy has fought, is fighting, and will continue to fight for us. It has come at the great expense of His own life, but even death couldn’t stop our Father from rescuing us. He is incredibly competent and will exact righteous judgement on all evil in the process of bringing us, His children, back to His side, because He delights in us and loves us.