At this point, it’s safe to say that a Liam Neeson led movie is going to include some action with him starring as a man with some issues in his personal life. There really aren’t any surprises or anything with this, so if you like his films, something like Run All Night could be exactly what you’re looking for. It stars the veteran actor in a familiar situation that apparently isn’t too hard for anyone to replicate.
Starring as Jimmy Conlon, Liam Neeson plays a man with a past bad enough to destroy most people. He used to be a hitman for the mob, but now he’s just a broke drunk with a tendency to ask for handouts every now and then. Haunted by his past, the man people used to know as “The Gravedigger” doesn’t have any prospects in life aside from winding up passed out from drinking or getting handcuffs put on him by a cop (Vincent D’Onofrio) who’s been looking to take him down for ages.
At this stage, he’s only surviving to be laughed at by those who know what he used to be, but that all changes when his son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman) becomes a target of some dangerous men. This puts meaning into the life of the old man with nothing to live for. In entering this predicament, Jimmy now has to choose between his old mob ties or the son that refuses to even acknowledge him. All he can do to make things right is run all night with the hopes of surviving long enough to see his son to safety.
Run All Night is not a great movie by any means, but you’ll find that it does have some entertainment value. Most if not all of that value comes from the action and nothing else. It’s nice to watch these guys battle it out as they run through the city while attempting to stave off death, but plenty of people will probably looking for more than what’s being offered.
To put a further dent into Run All Night, the character Common plays doesn’t fit in the movie at all. It seems as if he’s starring in something completely different than everyone else. While Neeson and the gang are starring in some kind of gangster/cop action drama, the Oscar winning rapper is featured in a role that’s best fit for a movie about espionage.
Here, Common plays a technically savvy hitman with an extremely small amount of personality. He has “a very particular set of skills” that he’s probably “acquired over a very long career.” Of course, in order to obtain his services, one would have to pay an enormous fee. Then again, if he hates you enough, he’ll probably want to kill you for free.
Anyway, with the exception of the fact that we know that he’s familiar with Neeson’s Jimmy Conlon and Ed Harris’ Shawn MacGuire, we don’t know much else about they guy. He doesn’t even really have any lines. When he does talk, he delivers them as robotic as you may expect from those terrible, but entertaining spy movies from yesteryear. Not only that, whenever he comes on screen, he’s as out of place as you could imagine.
The quotes that I used a couple of paragraphs ago aren’t included in this review for no reason. They’re quotes from Liam Neeson’s Taken film that was highly popular a few years back. The reason for using them is because much of what is seen in Run All Night is literally borrowed from some of his most recent action movies. I won’t go into detail, but there’s a little bit of Non-Stop, a dash of A Walk Amongst the Tombstones and a bunch of other films that you may remember.
When you see an action movie that’s nearly two hours and as repetitive as this one is, you assume that you’re going to get a ton of down time and maybe even be bored to death. However, Run All Night thankfully doesn’t have that problem. With it’s speedier than expected pace and the decent action that I mentioned earlier, it’s never allowed to fully fall apart completely. Even if that’s not enough to turn it into a great film, it prevents it from being a complete waste.
Because of it being what it is, Run All Night can definitely be viewed negatively in the eyes of many of us. It can be perceived as lazy and uninspiring to many who want to see more when they pay to watch a movie. However, for people who just love Neeson doing what he’s been doing for years now, this stuff has the potential to satisfy you. For myself, I don’t necessarily mind the repetitiveness as long as the movie is entertaining. As far as Run All Night is concerned, it barely passes as mediocre.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Film Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Distributor: Warner Bros. Brothers