Run All Night Review
Out of all the actors who could have possibly become action heroes, I never pictured it happening for Liam Neeson. I liked the early years of Liam Neeson because he created striking and emotional characters. I don't think anybody could have done Schindler like Neeson did in "Schindler's List." For me, Neeson was always that powerful dramatic actor, I would never think that he would ever become an action hero. But soon enough, he did. The "Taken" series brought his career to an all-new height. The only problem is that he never really got out of that Taken anesthetic.
"Run All Night" is essentially a Preventative Taken. In the movie, Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, a former Irish mob enforcer who is haunted by the times of his past. This has caused Jimmy to become an angry drunk and his time drinking has destroyed all connection with his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) and his wife and two daughters. Meanwhile, Jimmy's former employer Shawn MaGuire (Ed Harris) has decided against a deal with the Albanian Mob, and has sent his son Danny (Boyd Holbrook), to end the deal with the Albanian's. The deals ending goes sour and Danny kills two high-profile Albanian mobsters. The problem is that Mike was moonlighting as a chauffer who drove the Albanians to the meeting and Mike is the only one who saw Danny murder the Albanians. Danny tries to kill Mike, but Mike is rescued by his father.
The rest of the movie is a big cat-and-mouse game. Shawn is deeply angered by the death of his son and he sends every gun and resource he has to destroy both Jimmy and Mike. The night turns into a harrowing chore for survival for both Jimmy and Mike, as they have to constantly escape Shawn's forces, as well as the police, both corrupt and non-corrupt. But sadly, the movie never ends up as anything other than another Taken-style action film featuring Neeson. Even though Neeson is playing a former killer for the Irish Mob, he speaks, acts, walks and maneuvers like Bryan Mills; his character from the "Taken" films. Has Neeson now become a one-trick pony in the action world? Unable to convey different emotions, different mannerisms and different styles in the world of action filmmaking?
I guess "Run All Night" works a little bit better because Neeson has a great cast to work with. There is a scene in a bar when Shawn and Jimmy declare war on each other and it is some electrifying intensity between the actors. Both Ed Harris and Neeson do their best to make this work, but the script lets them down again and again. I have enjoyed the work by Joel Kinnaman for awhile now and he does good work here, but again, the script lets him down. The story tries so hard to fit into other cliches and fit the anesthetic of other Neeson movies that everything about the film almost seems redundant. I especially liked Common's appearance as an extremely deadly assassin that Shawn hires, and I wished badly that the film would have followed his character more. But his character is used as a glaring cliché at the end and it broke my heart a little.
I have to at least give the cast credit for trying with this one. It could have been a really cool movie, but it ended up being just the same thing Neeson has been doing for almost ten years now. So I have to ask, what is the point?