2015 / Director. Jaume Collet-Serra.
Review by Shaun Crawford.
Since TAKEN Liam Neeson has become a brand unto himself. When you say 'Liam Neeson film' it prints a specific plot in your brain-parts, for better or worse. Here, in RUN ALL NIGHT, he teams up with director Juame Collet-Serra for the third time, proving 'third time's the charm'. Their previous two outings, UNKOWN and NON-STOP, have been lacklustre and dull (we'll leave it to you to work out which is which) but this New York City outing finally shows the promise they obviously see in each other, even though it's been largely missing on screen until now.
Here the Irish rogue plays the worn-out mobster Jimmy Conlon, a washed up gunman coasting through life thanks to his life-long kinship with neighbourhood big-boss Shawn MacGuire (Ed Harris). When Jimmy's son, Mike, gets into the shit with Shawn's boy Danny, Jimmy steps in and kills his best pals kid. Now they have to make it through the night and leave the city with every crooked cop, hired killer and legit cop on their trail.
It's nice to see Neeson finally playing his age. His Jimmy isn't another wolf-puncher. He's washed up, broken and existing in a world that's moved on without him. It's nothing new but it's no TAKEN, so at least there's that. The rebuilding of his estranged relationship with Mike tugs at the heart-strings occasionally as does his dissolving relationship with his best pal.
Ed Harris growls his way through his scenes once again making this acting malarkey look easy and Vincent D'Onofrio pops in for an extended cameo (DAREDEVIL must have just finished being filmed up the road) but he's severely under-used. He can be electric when given the right material, elevating the simplest of characters to steal the show, but for Serra & Co. he's just another New York cop. Shame.
It's not until hired hitman Common shows up that things slightly derail. An exceptionally proficient killer in a film that's about down-and-dirty working-class hoods is about as welcome as a hole in the neck. The Pogues 'Fairytale of New York' playing over the final gunplay is heavy-handed on the irrelevant Irish-American theme but you can forgive it since a some of the dialogue is so sharp you could cut your tongue on it.
There's perhaps more heart and intelligence in this offering than you might expect which, following NON-STOP and UNKNOWN, can only be a good thing.