Run All Night(2015)
- RatedNC16 /GenreAction, Crime, Drama
Liam Neeson, 62, has become an accidental action hero over the last few years.
The successes of the ‘Taken’ movies sent him on an upward but repetitive career path, which allowed him to deliver his “particular set of skills” frequently.
Neeson’s latest movie ‘Run All Night’ might not be ‘Taken’, but the signs are all there: a man with skills who has to do what it takes to protect his family. Sounds familiar, right?
This movie’s equivalent of Bryan Mills is a former Irish mob hitman Jimmy Conlon, formerly known as “The Gravedigger”, now reduced to a laughing stock at the local pub.
Piling on the humiliation is when Jimmy is forced to play Santa Claus for Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), the son of Shawn (Ed Harris), Jimmy’s former boss and the only friend he has left.
Things get complicated after his estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) accidentally witnesses a series of murders by Danny. Danny pursues Mike to his house, where Jimmy shoots Danny to save his son’s life.
Soon, Irish gangsters, corrupt policemen and a professional assassin all go baying for the blood of father and son.
So what do they do?
Run all night, of course.
Directed by frequent Neeson-collaborator Jaume Collet-Serra (‘Unknown’, ‘Non-Stop’), the movie dispenses with the Hitchcockian-murder-mystery-night formula for those familiar with the director's previous works, and we have a brawny action chaser instead.
The pacing is brisk and the action is bruising. The director crams the set-pieces in – from high-speed car-chase scenes to the aftermath of a hockey game at Madison Square Garden – effectively creating palpable tension and demonstrating the survival instincts of the protagonists.
Look out for the ambitious set-piece at a burning Bronx apartment complex which combines deft parkour moves with a shoot-em-up.
Neeson is perhaps one of the most consistent and bankable action heroes in Hollywood right now.
Time and again, he has shown that he can bring a gritty realism to characters in desperate situations. But playing such cookie-cutter characters is pigeonholing the Oscar winner.
Liam Neeson (left) and Joel Kinnaman in 'Run All Night' | Photo: Warner Bros
As Jimmy, he brings a certain gravitas and empathy to the world-weary and boozy former hitman who wants nothing more than to make good for his son.
Watching father and son go all mano-a-mano is possibly one of the most stirring pieces of cinema, channelling Pacino and De Niro in Michael Mann’s 1995 crime opus ‘Heat’.
Up-and-coming tough guy Kinnaman puts on the restraints here as Mike.
Despite letting Neeson have all the fun punching and shooting bad guys, the 35-year-old actor who made his name in ‘The Killing’ television series is believable as the son who wants be a better father than his father; and like Jimmy, would stop at nothing to protect his family. But that is where the similarities stop.
Ably shoring up the movie is Vincent D’Onofrio’s good cop Detective Harding and hip-hop rapper Common, who is miles away from his character in ‘Selma’, playing the cold-blooded assassin Price who has an axe to grind with Jimmy.
Although the story is far from intriguing, the action is what makes ‘Run All Night’ works. Not to mention, the star power of its lead man.
‘Run All Night’ opens 12 March 2015