Run All Night
Starring Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez
There is apparently no limit to Liam Neeson’s interest in violence and action flicks. Like a broken record, the 62-year-old once again cocks the gun and saves the day. As the films opens, Neeson’s character lays on the ground talking about regrets flashing through his mind. The biggest regret is watching a talented actor discard not only a good career, but wasting his talent on these dime a dozen thrillers that get tossed in the bargain bin before they are even a year old. This is Neeson’s third time working with director Jaume Collet-Serra, whose previous endeavors “Non-Stop” (the one of Neeson saving the day on a plane) and “Unknown” (the one where he fights to get his identity back) are, you guessed it, in the bargain bin.
Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) regrets a lot of things, but abandoning his son Michael (Kinnaman) isn’t one of them. He left, so his son wouldn’t get dragged into the criminal lifestyle. All the murders he has committed keep him up at night. His best friend and employer Shawn Maguire (Harris) says whatever happens to them, they will cross the line together. 24 hours later, Jimmy is forced to kill Shawn’s only son, and he knows there is only one way this can end. Jimmy must get Michael to trust him for one night if the young Conlon wants to protect his wife and kids. Shawn unleashes his full criminal mob on the Conlon’s as the entire NYPD is also delivering a manhunt over murdered cops.
The most obvious difference between “Run All Night” and the “Taken” films or the similar action flicks off Neeson’s rinse and repeat assembly line, is the boisterous score by Junkie XL, which makes it sound like “Batman Begins”, and the hyper-realized CG camera angle transitions that imitate a camera zooming down from the sky into one particular spot. I mention these two noticeable effects because they are nothing more than distractions to amplify a story that has an obvious ending. What’s even worse is the realization that Brad Ingelsby’s script is a carbon copy of “Road to Perdition” with a modern twist. Harris’s Shawn treats his son, played by Boyd Hollbrook (“The Skeleton Twins”), exactly like Paul Newman did with Daniel Craig in ‘Perdition’; the similarities are almost laughable.
Like all Neeson films, there are a handful of really suspenseful and tense moments despite the fact most of the situational irony has rendered everything completely unrealistic. In one scene Neeson strangles a man with the toughest public toilet paper towels I have ever seen; it puts Bounty to shame. Unlocking locked doors and starting vehicles with no key is effortless. “I wanted a better life for you than the one I chose for myself,” Jimmy says over a silent violin. The most believable aspect of the film is the hardened angry face of Ed Harris, who does mean like no one else.
One action film at a time, Neeson is running the genre into the ground.