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Run All Night (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

Run All Night

Run All Night


Starring Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Common, Lois Smith, Beau Knapp, Patricia Kalember, Daniel Stewart Sherman, James Martinez and Nick Nolte.

Screenplay by Brad Ingelsby.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

Distributed by Warner Brothers.  114 minutes.  Rated R.

At this point, Liam Neeson is so immersed in his new kick-ass action hero persona that the question is no longer whether he will be believable as a flawed and haunted alpha-male killer.  Now the question is, will we be able to buy him in any other sort of role anymore?

Seven years on from Taken, Neeson, formerly best known for cerebral fare like Schindler’s List or Kinsey now seems to be Hollywood’s go-to guy for aging and guilt-ridden tough guys.

Run All Night is far from the best of these films that Neeson has been in – that would still be the original Taken – but it’s also far from the worst.  (I guess that would be either Battleship, The A-Team or Taken 3.)

Run All Night is a pretty standard issue mobster film, other than the interesting structural decision to make all the action take place in the space of about a day.  (The film suggests it all happens within one night, but some early establishing scenes of Neeson’s character of Jimmy Conlon getting drunk and passing out while playing Santa at a Christmas party must have taken place many hours, if not days, before the proper action starts up, because he hardly seems hung over throughout the chase.)

Jimmy is a former mob enforcer fallen on hard times and haunted by the memory of all the people he has killed.  His former boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris at his most steely and Ed-Harris-y) is trying to go legit, so now he throws Jimmy some crumbs and odd jobs, but does not really need him.  Still, they are old high school buddies (despite the fact that Harris looks at least a decade older than his hard-living old bestie, in real life Harris is only a year-and-a-half older than Neeson) and Shawn has a soft spot for the guy.

A completely different soft spot is held for Jimmy by Det. Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio), a hard-boiled-but-honest police detective who has been trying for years to prove Jimmy guilty of a series of unsolved hits.

Jimmy is long estranged from his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman), a former-boxer turned limo driver, loving husband and doting dad.  Mike wants nothing to do with his father’s violent world, but it finds him anyway in the form of Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), Shawn’s out-of-control loose cannon of a son.  When Mike has to drive two Albanian mobsters to a meeting, he witnesses Danny and a friend shooting the mob guys dead.

Despite the fact that the fathers are working to gain detente between Mike and Danny – if Mike does not rat on Danny he can live and they may offer him some money – Danny goes gunning for Mike.  Jimmy sees that Danny is going to try to kill his son, so he kills his best friend’s son instead.  And though he knew that Danny was out of control, this was the one line that could not be crossed as far as Shawn was concerned, and he determines that not only Jimmy but also Mike must die, and perhaps Mike’s gorgeous wife and cute little kids, too.

And that’s the story, essentially, dad and son bicker and get to know each other while crossing New York, searching for evidence of Mike’s innocence all the while dodging mobsters, assassins, corrupt police officers and an uncredited Nick Nolte.

There’s nothing special to the film, but it is briskly put together by pulp director Jaume Collet-Serra – who had previously worked with Neeson in similarly frenetic fare Unknown and Non-Stop.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2015 All rights reserved. Posted: March 13, 2015.

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