RUN ALL NIGHT
By Gary Murray
Starring Liam Neeson, Ed Harris and Joel Kinnaman
Written by Brad Ingelsby
Directed by Jaurne Collet-Serra
Running time 114 min
MPAA Rating R
Selig Film Rating Cable
Liam Neeson has made a career being a stoic warrior. The Taken series generated a ton of cash at the box office. So what do you do for a follow-up? It becomes more of the same with Run All Night.
The film starts In Medias Rea, with Liam Neeson dying. His character Jimmy is a hit man. Then we go back 18 hours.
Mike (Joel Kinnaman) is a limo driver and failed boxer. He just didn’t have the killer instinct needed to be a professional. He is also Jimmy’s son.
On the other side of the plot is Shawn (Ed Harris). He’s a tough mafia king pin. His son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) brings him a deal to smuggle heroin. Joe remembers how cocaine ravaged his city and his family. He doesn’t want to be a part another epidemic and refuses the deal.
Danny has made some promises that he now cannot keep. When two men, driven by Mike, go to Danny’s place and a gun battle ensues. Mike is a witness to the crime and Danny needs to clean up the loose ends.
Jimmy and Mike are estranged and Mike wants nothing to do with Jimmy. Jimmy has killed 17 men for Shawn and it is eating into his soul.
Eventually, Jimmy has to kill Danny. Shawn is heartbroken and puts a hit out on Mike to balance the score. Shawn wants Jimmy to feel the pain of losing a son before taking Jimmy’s life.
Jimmy becomes Mike’s protector and father and son find common ground. This is while they are being hunted on the mean streets. The entire film builds to a melee of violence.
Liam Neeson has done this type of role many times before and it has become a rote performance. He breaks very little new ground with the role. It has become a bit tiring to see him do this same kind of performance again.
Ed Harris looks tired in his role of Shawn. There is this air of burned out actor every time he is on screen. It looks as if he is in pain with every utterance. Simply put, there is no life in the performance.
Much better is Boyd Holbrook as Danny. He is the screw-up young kid who dreams of doing better than the old man but does so in a very wrong way. By trying to clean-up his mess, he makes things worse.
The basic structure of the film works and director Jaurne Collet-Serra does the best he can with redundant material. In the middle of the film is yet another car chase, but he attempts to give us something different with the camera angles.
He also uses this swooping camera to suggest the everyman nature of these low-life characters. If only such care were taken with the actual film and not just with the ‘stunt angles’ of the film.
In the end, Run All Night is like a typical fast food meal. You know that you ate something but for the life of it all, you cannot remember exactly what you ate. It is basic nutrition and not a fantastic, memorable meal.