Liam Neeson is 63 and he can still kick some gluteus maximus. He has become the Jason Statham of the geriatric crowd. I’m kidding, of course. He is not old by any stretch but the films he has been in, as of late, seem to be retreads of old material, though. Taken 3, A Walk Among The Tombstones and now Run All Night are three films that he has starred in and although I have not seen Taken 3, I have seen A Walk Among The Tombstones and Run All Night and while they are not bad films, these are two films whose story lines have been beaten to death. In ‘Tombstones’, Neeson is an ex-cop turned unlicensed PI charged with finding the killers of the local mob boss’s wife. In Run All Night, Neeson is a mob hit man who is trying to keep his own son alive, after Neeson has killed his own bosses son. In either case, his character is a boozer, single, depressed and morose. Where ‘Tombstones’ is more of a procedural thriller with a bit of action, Run All Night is solid action.
Run All Night features Ed Harris as Shawn Maguire, the local mob boss in New York City who is still dirty but has made an effort to become legit. His son, Danny, is a lowlife drug addicted, thieving, murdering punk. Danny kills a couple of Albanian drug dealers he has ripped off, that were driven to the meeting by Mike (Joe Kinnaman) who is Jimmy’s (Neeson) son. Mike has witnessed the shooting and is now target number one. Jimmy, of course will not let this stand, especially after Danny takes some shots at Mike. When Jimmy kills Danny, then the entire city of New York is in a frenzy to kill both Mike and Jimmy. You have Shawn’s people, corrupt cops, good cops and Mr. Price (Common), a high dollar hit man.
I have watched Run All Night twice. I read where it had received 60% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and was kind of perplexed. While this is not a bad film, is it one I can recommend when there are others out there that are more original and well done. This one is well done with some great action, but I could not help but feel that I have seen this done before and better. The acting is solid like the action, but Neeson seems to be collecting a check. There is nothing new or interesting in his Jimmy character. Kinnaman, last seen in the very disappointing reboot Robocop, is a bit wooden, too. Ed Harris as Shawn is simply replaying his bloodthirsty character from his 1990 film State of Grace with Sean Penn, Gary Oldman and Robin Wright. It is a far superior film to Run All Night and worth watching.
Jaume Collet-Serra, who has worked with Neeson on Non-Stop(2014) and Unknown(2011) and directed a terrific horror film titled, Orphan, shows that he has flair for action of all kinds. Be it shootouts, car chases, foot chases. and hand to hand combat action, he stages them with energy and style. The basic problem I had with Run All Night is that the script seems to be content with standard dialogue that undermines the action, rendering the consequences of the characters decisions to cookie cutter simplicity. These are all bad people, with the exception of Mike, who cannot stand his father. They all get what’s coming to them, but we sit through tired dialogue over drinks and cigarettes. Brad Ingelsby’s script tries hard, sometimes works, but never overcomes the cliches of a father and a son who have only a limited amount of time to mend 20 years of hostility towards each other. Boyd Holbrook as Danny is electrifying to watch though. His character is a deliciously evil little SOB but he is fun to watch. He is on a path of self destruction, but he is fun to watch.
The whole subplot of Mr. Price and Jimmy seems to be added and not much is described as to the animosity that Price has towards Jimmy. “Jimmy Conlon? I’ll kill that Mother%$#@er for free!” Their relationship is never explained except as a gimmick for the plot. Common has revealed himself as a great actor and he delivers the good, here, but it is a throwaway. Junkie XL provides another tremendous score that enhances the action and sets a contemplative mood for the few emotional scenes we are afforded. I will say this guy’s music is nothing short of stunning. He scored films like Mad Max Fury Road, Divergent, 300 Rise of An Empire, and upcoming films like Black Mass (Whitey Bulger pic with Johnny Depp as the infamous gangster), Kill Your Friends, and the remake of Point Break. Regardless, of the genre, Junkie XL is quickly becoming a top tiered film score composer and deservedly so.
Run All Night will entertain most people and it has a lot going for it. But watching it twice, I have the same reaction both times. Been there, done that. This review will suffice for A Walk Among The Tombstones, as well. These are not bad films and most will like them, and there was a lot I did like. But when you spend most of the time listening to the score and not really caring what is going on the screen, well, there is the problem.
Run All Night- Rated R for violence, language and adult situations
Run All Night – Run Time is 114 minutes