Sunday, March 22, 2015

REVIEW: Run All Night

Run All Night

Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman


March 13, 2015

Jaume Collet-Serra

Warner Bros. Pictures

1 hour 54 minutes



Every year it seems we get a new(ish) Liam Neeson action thriller to take our money and showcase one of Hollywood's most badass stars being, well, a badass.  This year we're privileged (depending on who you are) to get two within the first three months of 2015.  The first one was "Taken 3," and the second one is "Run All Night."  Re-teaming with "Unknown" and "Non-Stop" director Jaume Collet-Serra, Neeson stars as Jimmy, an aging mobster who ends up having one hell of a night where he kills the son of his best friend and mob boss Shawn, played by Ed Harris, in order to protect his own estranged son, played by Joel Kinnaman from last year's "Robocop" remake.  Basically it's kind of like if "That's My Boy" or "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" were made into an R rated Liam Neeson action fiesta.  Don't worry, that's a good thing.

Neeson, Kinnaman, and Harris all deliver solid performances here as their respected characters.  Neeson shows that he's having fun while playing this alcoholic gangster who is trying to save his son and make things right for all the wrong he's done.  Kinnaman is very convincing as Neeson's estranged son, giving the emotional punch that this film delivers well with.  The best performance in the movie goes to Harris, who is very menacing and engaging as the main antagonist.  Vincent D'onofrio, Genesis Rodriguez, and others make up the overall solid supporting cast.  The problems in the film don't lie in the performance, but rather in the cheesy and even confused screenplay.

At the beginning of the film, Harris' character is against his son's actions and doesn't want anything to do with what he believes is right.  However, his actions lead to his attempt on Liam Neeson's son's life, which causes Neeson to kill him.  Out of nowhere, Harris suddenly has a change of heart and sets his mobsters and the NYPD against Neeson, his best and most loyal friend might I add, and his kid.  This just felt like a complete 180 from what the film had been setting up Harris' character as.  Also, there's a character played by Common who honestly felt like something that came straight out of a "Terminator" movie.  Even when you think this character is done and over with, the film surprises you once again by having him still living and breathing, despite not making and logical sense whatsoever.  I know you're supposed to turn your brain off during these types of films, but here, I honestly couldn't.  Luckily these problems didn't stop me from enjoying the film as a whole.

In a nut shell, this is a flawed and formulaic action movie.  There are a lot of ridiculous and implausible moments that happen here, and there are some characters who motives aren't quite logical.  Having said that, I managed to get lost in most of the action and on screen chemistry between Neeson and Kinnaman, and at the end of the day I came out of this happy that I saw it.  It might not be as deep or as awesome as "The Grey," but it's still a fun Liam Neeson action movie overall that I'd recommend seeing with friends, whether that's in the theater or at home.  Plus if you watch it with friends, I bet a drinking game could be made out of this.  Either that, or being under the influence while watching this may elevate the film's more absurd moments into sheer hilarity for you. At the end of the day, "Run All Night" is another fun entry into Liam Neeson's supposedly unstoppable reign of action films.  Not as smart or fun as some of his previous flicks, but overall it's a solid two hour thrill ride that is sure to entertain you at least partially.


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