No matter how unrealistic, predictable and redundant Liam Neeson’s recent films are, the Oscar nominee has a way of making the most bland of scripts work. If any other actor played the lead in Taken, The Grey or Non-Stop, the movies might’ve been unbearable (although even Neeson couldn’t save Taken 3). Neeson is nearly an action cartoon character, but his cinematic charisma is so massive, you always want him to win.
In Run All Night, Neeson is former mobster Jimmy Conlon, who is retired from crime and now in a drunken stupor. When his son is accidentally caught up in a mob killing, Conlon comes back with a classic Neeson vengeance. The brilliant¬†Ed Harris is the leader of the mob ring and Common is a slick assassin. The plot is a minor detail for Run All Night. You are watching for the gory violence, polished action scenes, epic car chases and a huge body count. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the film delivers on all fronts.
In some ways, Run All Night has a heart to the madness. It is a father and son story, but diving too deep into the emotional aspects of the characters might make you question some of the impossible scenarios. Therefore, Run All Night sticks to Neeson’s winning formula‚ÄĒ a fun, mindless and exciting joyride. Written by Brad Ingelsby, the movie’s only non-redeemable flaw is the nearly two-hour running time. Most of Neeson’s films clock in at a swift 90 or so minutes. Shave off the first 20 minutes and Run All Night could’ve been action gold.
Another plus, the natural diversity in the cast, including Aubrey Joseph, who plays a teenager named Legs struggling in the streets of New York. Also, Common as a suit-wearing assassin named Mr. Price, ¬†which was a relief that he wasn’t the stereotypical thug in most action films. ¬†With solid actors, great action and the slick direction from Collet-Serra, the last hour of Run All Night hit its stride.
The film may not be a critical favorite, but it will be an audience favorite. Run All Night is the first must-see action film of the year.
Run All Night is in theaters now.