Run All Night English Movie Review
No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what you do, a Liam Neeson action film will find you and it will either kill or thrill you.
Like in almost every other Neeson film in the past few years, Neeson is out to kick some villainous butt this weekend in Run All Night, in which he collaborates with his Unknown and Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra. Fortunately, the film falls in the latter category of thrilling, courtesy of a lot of killing that goes on in it.
Taking a bit of a break from Neeson's Taken-style films, Run All Night instead focuses on the father-son relationship between him and estranged child Joel Kinnaman, after they are forced to go on the run from the mob following certain events.
As is the demand of the plot, there is an undercurrent of sentimentality in the film. Crossing bridges and mending fences seems to be the order of the day. Lectures about the importance of family are doled out with more fervor than a speech on our country's independence. But director Collet-Serra carefully counterbalances the overflowing emotions with a steady flow of action.
Cars crash as if they're attracted to each other, more bullets are fired than the number of commercials during a sports telecast and by the end, there are more dead bodies on the ground than there are buried underground in cemeteries. And it's all done with a sense of panache and foul-mouthed liberty that is hard not to admire.
What is not worth admiring though, is the conventional and oft-seen nature of the film's plot. Writer Brad Ingelsby relies more on character relationships, powerful face-offs and thrilling action to tide the film through, rather than coming up with an ingenuous plot or out-of-the-box characters.
But it's hard to argue the drawbacks of a film when you're having as much fun watching whatever they're doing. Whether by raw talent or maybe by just a fluke, all the bits and pieces characters and situations come together smoothly to form a cohesive film that is fast-paced and enjoyable, for which credit goes to Collet-Serra's stylish direction and Martin Ruhe's cinematography. Whether it's the graphic novel style look of the film, or the GPS satellite-like location jumps that the film frequently employs, Collet-Serra and Ruhe keep nifty little tricks up their sleeves to keep the audience's attention intact.
The editing by Dirk Westervelt is crisp and efficient, keeping the running length to below two hours. Junkie XL's musical score only adds to the thuggish persona of the film.
Run All Night finds Liam Neeson in top form as a reformed killer trying to make a connection with his grown son. Neeson can play the trash-talking tough guy with his eyes closed by now, but he manages to appear uncharacteristically vulnerable here, as a man with a broken spirit and burdened by guilt. Joel Kinnaman is his usual earnest self, charming even in a serious role. Ed Harris, as Neeson's mob-boss best friend, is suitably threatening when needed. Common appears in a dynamic role of an assassin-for-hire and actually kicks some serious ass in a small but memorable turn.
On the whole, Run All Night is part Taken, part A Walk Among The Tombstones, and total fun. It might not be the most fresh, most thought-provoking, or even the smartest on-the-run action film, but is certainly Neeson's best in some time. Go in with your expectations in check and there's no reason why it shouldn't turn out to be a satisfying couple of hours for you this weekend.