2 1/2 Stars
Liam Neeson continues his late career resurgence as an action hero in the glossy, and violent thriller, Run All Night. We are now seven years removed from the first Taken picture, had this movie been release just a few years ago, instead of on the heels of nearly a dozen similar Neeson outings, maybe then it would seem less like a genre retread. Even the estimable work from venerable screen legend Ed Harris as an unusually thoughtful crime boss, is lost in the heavy-handed and frantic narrative.
New York based hit man Jimmy Conlon (Neeson), once known as The Gravedigger, is now a broken shell of his former self. Drunken and poor, the once feared Conlon is now a laughingstock to his colleagues in the underworld. The only man to hold a molecule of respect for Jimmy is his longtime best friend and mob boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris).
Nearly retired at 55, Jimmy spends his days drinking and his nights sleepless, haunted by the violence he inflicted on people and hounded by Detective Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio). A determined cop who’s been unable to bring Conlon up on charges for 30 years. But when Jimmy’s estranged son (Joel Kinnaman), runs afoul of Maguire’s son in a drug deal gone awry, Jimmy is thrust into a tight spot. Does Conlon’s loyalty lie with Maguire’s syndicate or the son he walked-out on long ago?
Now, father and son must survive a night on the streets with no safe harbor, and assassins on their trail. The journey will forever alter Jimmy’s relationship with his best friend and his estranged son.
As an aficionado of lowbrow action films, I have grown accustomed to many of the genre’s shortcomings. These include, stilted writing, logical loop holes, and the proper suspension of disbelief that allows you to accept a man in his mid-60’s can whoop a henchman in his 20’s. Let me be clear; Run All Night is far more intelligent and realistic than the increasingly silly Taken pictures. Director Jaume Collet-Serra is capable of extracting good performances from his cast while delivering the pounding action elements that Neeson fans have grown to expect. When all the running around New York is over, the film exposes it’s self as a second tier project fancied up by slick visuals and solid turns from a high-profile cast. Look for Nick Nolte in a cameo, apparently the TRT is working. The rascally voiced thespian appears ready for his Expendables moment.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman