UK Release Date: 13th March 2015
Runtime: 114 minutes
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Brad Ingelsby
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Genesis Rodriguez, Boyd Holbrook, Common
Synopsis: When he is forced to kill his boss’ son, a former assassin finds the entire criminal underworld desperate to hunt him and his family down.
Over the last few years, Liam Neeson has cemented himself as a true star of the action genre. However, several of his last few genre releases, including A Walk Among the Tombstones and Taken 3 have been lacklustre at best. Run All Night, which reunites Neeson with Unknown and Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra, is something of a return to form, but it still falls short.
Former assassin Jimmy (Neeson) fatally intervenes in an altercation that could have resulted in the death of his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman). He realises that the man he has killed was the child of his former boss Shawn (Ed Harris). With all previous good faith between the two extinguished, and cop Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio) on the trail, Jimmy must fight to keep himself and his son alive.
Like so much of his recent work, Run All Night feels like Liam Neeson on autopilot. He is simply retreading the grizzled parent archetype he helped to popularise with the Taken franchise. It’s tough to become emotionally invested in a film when the lead performer looks like he’d rather be anywhere else.
| "I’m the only one who ever cared about you, and all that ended when you killed my son."
The plot, too, is so flimsy that a light breeze could take it apart. It mostly consists of Neeson gruffly barking orders at Joel Kinnaman – who is just as artificial here as he was as part-machine in Robocop – and running through buildings. Things pick up a little when rapper Common turns up as a Terminator-esque hitman, but his character is underused and plays narrative second fiddle to the duel between Harris and Neeson.
The issue is Run All Night doesn’t seem sure how best to organise its various story threads. By the time Common and Vincent D’Onofrio’s cop are in the mix alongside Harris, the film loses control of its antagonists and doesn’t know who it should give top billing in terms of the story progression. It is this lack of focus that leaves the film feeling flabby and uninteresting in between its often impressive action sequences.
Ultimately, though, the issues with Run All Night mostly come down to its lack of identifiable characters. We’re supposed to identify with Jimmy, but can’t because Neeson looks bored throughout the entire movie. We’re then supposed to identify with family man Mike, but Joel Kinnaman is completely free of charisma and humanity. There isn’t a single human hook to make the film work on an emotional level, leaving the bland cat and mouse plotting to carry the entire weight of the movie.
| "You can’t ever pull that trigger, you understand me?"
There’s enough adrenaline coursing through the veins of Run All Night to rescue it from being a complete bore. The bullets fly and car bodies crumple at a fine rate, but the performances and lack of emotional heft really drag it down.
Pop or Poop?
It seems as if the brakes may need to soon be applied to Liam Neeson’s career renaissance as an action movie star. Run All Night, for all of its fizz and fun, tries a little too hard to pack in familial drama.
Neeson looks bored, Joel Kinnaman continues to stink out the screen and there’s a distinct lack of excitement. Maybe it’s time Liam went back to the dramatic roles that first made him a star.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.