Throughout his long and decorated career as an actor, Liam Neeson has carved out a niche playing the type of man you never, ever want to mess with. You don’t want to take Neeson’s daughter, you don’t want to cheat on him, and you sure as hell don’t want to take his daughter a second time. Last night, Neeson unveiled a new — and arguably scarier — side of himself on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Liam Neeson, Mall Santa. All Christmas puns aside, it was truly chilling.
After donning the traditionally non-terrifying red robe and hat, Neeson gave us his take on the symbol of Christmas and turned the jolly purveyor of presents into a psychopathic man who hands out one thing and one thing alone: justice.
Neeson’s Santa Claus is a broken, cruel man who uses his knowledge of when kids are sleeping or awake to his advantage and will stop at nothing to bring the naughty ones coal. "Jolly,” he's not.
If anything, the way the stone-faced Irish actor recites the lines reminds us how frightening the concept of Santa really is in real life. Why does one old man have a list with the attitudes of underage kids from all over the world at his disposal? How does he get into the houses of kids without chimneys? Do his reindeer love him or do they fear his cruel hand? Too many questions.
In the eyes of Liam Neeson, Santa Claus is, "detailed, he’s single-minded — an eye in the sky bringing swift judgment," he says. Naturally, elements of his Taken character Bryan Mills are infused into the bit, except instead of finding the men who took his daughter, he's seeking punishment for the reindeer that ran over grandma. God help the kids who wound up on his naughty list.