Liam Neeson’s stereotyped action roles seem to be finally catching up with him – after this weekend’s underwhelming box office opening in the US – but this is actually one of his best in a while.
That’s because he’s role isn’t quite as typecast as his past few performances, this time starring as an alcoholic down-and-out mobster hitman – complete with all his ‘demons’ baggage.
Run All Night is actually the third film that Neeson has starred in for director Jaume Collet-Serra – after Unknown and Non-Stop – and is arguably better than both those previous films, as well as Taken 2 & 3 and A Walk in the Tombstones.
This time Neeson’s Jimmy Conlon has to choose between his estranged son, Mike – played by Robocop remake’s Joel Kinnaman (who will also be starring in DC Comics’ Suicide Squad superhero movie as Rick Flagg) – and his loyalties to his lifelong best friend and mob boss Shawn Maguire (Oscar nominee Ed Harris).
That’s after limo driver (and part-time boxer) Mike gets caught up in the death of Shawn’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) after a drug deal goes ‘south’ – and Shawn promises Jimmy that he has no option but to use all his ‘resources’ to exact revenge by killing Mike.
With Mike begrudgingly accepting the help of his Dad, the duo go on the run from Shawn and his cronies – which includes a hired crack-shot professional hitman in the form of Price (played by hip-hop star-turned-actor Common) – along with Vincent D’Onofrio’s (soon to be seen on Marvel’s Netflix exclusive Daredevil series as main villain Kingpin) underused Detective Harding, who wants Jimmy to confess to a string of murders.
And fortunately for the most part, this action-drama does exactly what is required, with a nice balance of action set-pieces, shoot-outs and dramatic moments, that takes it above Neeson’s recent action fare.
Reliable central performances from Neeson and Harris always make it watchable – despite it unravelling into ‘generic’ territory in the final third with the usual ‘bullet-spraying’ finale as it runs out of ideas – but as action films go, this definitely has legs.
Let’s just hope Neeson has enough money to pay the bills now, so he can go back to showing his acting skills in more diverse settings once again – or he’s eventually going to run out of steam . . . or collapse.
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Cast: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Vincent D’onofrio, Common, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce Mcgill, Genesis Rodriguez & Nick Nolte
Running Time: 1 Hr 54 Mins
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra[youtube id=”fU8XP2qbwd8″ width=”600″ height=”350″]