Just when you thought Liam Neeson might be running out of villains to dispatch to the River Styx, here comes the cartel — and this time around, Neeson’s taking names as a Marine veteran.

In the upcoming film “The Marksman,” the Northern Ireland-born actor plays Jim Hanson, a retired Devil Dog and Arizona rancher, who, while in the vicinity of the U.S.-Mexico border, stumbles upon a mother and son attempting to smuggle themselves into the U.S. to escape a horde of cartel assassins.

“I was in the Marine Corps, so I suggest y’all turn around and adios,” Neeson tells the assassins in a half-Irish, half-southwestern U.S. accent.

Border wall drama!

An altercation ensues and Neeson hip fires his rifle before going full Carlos Hathcock on some less than reputable characters. But when the mother is fatally shot in the melee (not a spoiler, watch the trailer) she makes it clear that her dying wish is for Hanson to get her son Miguel safely to relatives in Chicago.

Neeson’s rough exterior — and probable hardline stance on undocumented immigration — is soon softened upon embarking on the fugitive road trip with Miguel, who happens to be carrying around a backpack concealing his weight in cash.

Hanson’s evolution into a protective grandfather figure brings to mind Clint Eastwood’s character in the 2008 hit “Gran Torino,” which should come as no surprise. “The Marksman” director Robert Lorenz has worked under Eastwood on such projects as “Mystic River,” “American Sniper,” “Million Dollar Baby,” and “Space Cowboys.”

Starring alongside Neeson is a noteworthy group that includes Katheryn Winnick (”Vikings”), Teresa Ruiz (”Narcos: Mexico”), and Juan Pablo Raba (”Shot Caller,” “The 33″).

It’s not going to win any awards, but if the trailer is any indication, “The Marksman” should at least yield some Liam Neeson-style action fans of his recent films have grown accustomed to.

“The Marksman” lands in theaters, pending local COVID-19 restrictions, Jan. 15.

Watch the trailer below.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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