The erstwhile James Bond stars in “The November Man,” a spy thriller asking the 61-year-old to crack wise, kill bad people and present himself as an older, wiser action hero.
Mission accomplished. The film trots out every modern spy cliche it can stuff into its running time, but there’s never a moment audiences will turn to their seat mate and whisper, “he’s too old for this [expletive].”
Brosnan is the new Liam Neeson, another actor reborn as an action hero in his 60s. Here are five reasons why:
- He can (gasp) act: Kudos to Sylvester Stallone for creating the “Expendables” franchise, a retirement home for aging action stars who didn’t let their Ballys membership lapse. Stallone still phones in his work as the head “Expendable.” Squint and you’ll swear there’s a Sprint product placement plastered on his biceps. Not Brosnan. He never wowed critics early in his career, but his performances keep improving over time.
- He can still beat you up: Neeson is an imposing figure at well over six feet in height. Brosnan isn’t as tall, but he remains an athletic figure whose posture bespeaks vitality.
- We expect him to bash skulls: If Colin Firth found his inner Rambo in 10 years it could be a shock to our systems. We’ve gotten to know him as the quiet, cerebral type, a demeanor best used in Serious Movies. Brosnan’s work in both “Remington Steele” and the Bond franchise showed us his aggressive side. So seeing him dispatch men half his age in “The November Man” seems … natural.
- He has an international flair: U.S. action movies Hoover up money overseas. Bone crushing is a universal language, and even movies that flop stateside (“Escape Plan”) fare far better in other countries. Brosnan is Irish but grew up partly in England, and he’s known for films set in a variety of exotic locales (the Bond franchise, “The Tailor of Panama.”)..
- We need another hero: There’s a good reason “The Expendables” franchise exists. We’re running out of younger action stars, so getting the old gang back together retains its appeal. Most actors who might have channeled their inner Stallone during the ’80s now jump directly into superhero films (Andrew Garfield, Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie).