Neeson strong in 'Tombstones,' but action is lacking

Liam Neeson in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones,' a Universal Pictures release. (Courtesy)

Liam Neeson in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones,' a Universal Pictures release. (Courtesy)

I could hardly wait to see Liam Neeson play another tough, good-guy character. In both versions of "Taken," Neeson refined the gruff, no-nonsense, emotionally troubled character fighting for the good guys or rescuing someone from the bad guys.

Neeson doesn't let us down.

"A Walk Among the Tombstones" starts out with a bang. Neeson, playing the tough-but-tired New York cop, is sitting quietly in a bar when the bar is robbed. He jumps to action, quickly dispatching the first two bad guys and chasing down the third.

The movie then skips ahead several years to about 1999. Neeson is a quasi-private eye. He's no longer a cop and he's successfully going through Alcoholics Anonymous. He's contacted by a fellow AA member whose brother needs help.

Meanwhile, cut scenes are playing showing a woman lying on her back, mouth taped and someone running a hand on her body. It was hard to figure out what these cut scenes had to do with anything until Neeson contacts the drug trafficker brother, played by Dan Stevens. Stevens' wife was kidnapped and murdered. Stevens wants revenge.

Neeson is charged with finding the kidnappers. Meanwhile, more scenes of the kidnappers, played by David Harbour and Adam David Thompson, show them stalking more victims. Neeson hooks up with T.J., a young, black, homeless adolescent excellently played by Brian "Astro" Bradley. His temporary home is the city library, and Bradley helps Neeson by using modern technology to track down the bad guys.

Some may say Neeson's more recent roles are pretty much type-cast - always the same kind of character. But when you do something so well, why change?

There's not as much action - fights, chases, etc. - in "Tombstones" as there were in his prior movies, and it's sorely missed. Maybe I was expecting too much based on the trailers I've seen. The movie is rated R more for its suggestiveness, language and moderate violence. It doesn't compare to "Taken." I'll give it two out of four Miners.