Liam Neeson once acted in great films like Schindler’s list and Kinsey, so don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great actor. But it’s getting tiresome that all he is doing these days are movies where he is a drunk with a dark past and a son or a daughter in danger and it’s worse when practically every new film of his is worse than the one before. For once, a solid supporting cast help him out making this a really enjoyable movie to watch.
Mob boss Shawn Maquire (Ed Harris) and his enforcer Jimmy Conlon (Liam Nesson) know each other for decades. He has done many terrible things, but when his son Michael (Joel Kinnaman) is unfortunately embroiled in the mafia’s shady dealings, Jimmy must decide where his loyalty lies. This concept reminds me of a veteran gunslinger who must fight once more has been seen in the recent Equalizer and John Wick, however Run All Night opts for more family issue than flair to create a different yet equally engaging effect.
Neeson’s acting is pretty straight forward and at the usual standard we have been used to expect from his previous action films. Ed Harris and Joel Kinnaman provide what was missing from Taken series, by being his acting wingmen and actually adding something to the story. It’s a perspective of camaraderie relationship, a strange brother-in-arms dilemma Neeson’s character had to deal with both his longtime friend and also his son. Harris is charismatic as always, while Kinnaman from Robocop and The Killing TV series, is splendid as the young son. He looks rugged, but still can act upstanding enough for a contrast on the mob life.
There are reasons to like Run All Night, but there are too many stories to tell that seems apart from what the movie has promised. This is basically just another Liam Neeson action movie, the only novelty it provides is giving him a perfect antagonist for him to share threat speeches back and forth. Most of it is just a thriller with the same rhythm: fight, sit down, explain and repeat. It’s as typical as it gets, but the violence is appropriately grim for a revenge film, hence it is Rated R. In the end, it’s probably not going to be that memorable, but this proves that it’s fun to see Neeson meeting his match, not by muscle, but by line delivery, which can be a recommendation for his future roles, if he continues to star in movies like this.
It is certainly tempting to see this as yet another attempt to cash in on Neeson’s new found action hero status, but ‘Run All Night’ distinguishes itself with some well-filmed sequences to satisfy the adrenaline-hungry crowd while staying grounded with enough characterisation and good acting for its audience to be rooted with the characters on screen. It is also his best collaboration yet with Collet-Serra, who seems genuinely interested at making a movie tailored to the actor’s strengths than simply cashing in on a fad. Even and especially if you were disillusioned with ‘Taken 3’, ‘Run All Night’ is a good, solid slab of macho entertainment that should wash away the bitter taste of that over-the-hill franchise.