Run All Night: Neeson Stars in Surprisingly Enjoyable Revenge Drama
Hollywood just can’t seem to get enough of Liam Neeson, and the 64 year-old Irish actor is reunites with Taken, Unknown and Non-Stop director, Jaume Collet-Serra, in the oddly enjoyable revenge-thriller, Run All Night.
On the surface, the film comes across as a typical Hollywood action set in the grimy underworld of criminals. But there’s much more at play and family and loyalty are the key themes behind the flawed, yet surprisingly moving and thrilling, script. Written by Brad Ingelsby, the story is centered on Jimmy Conlon (Neeson); a notorious ex-hit man who no longer works the trade of killing, but is still very much linked to his childhood-friend-turned-crime-boss, Shawn Maguire (Harris); a relationship that the tenacious Detective Harding (D’Onofrio) keeps a close eye on.
Things start to go awry for the regretful Jimmy when his estranged, aspiring boxer son, Mike (Kinnaman), witnesses Shawn’s son, Danny, commit a murder. Determined to eliminate any possibility of being found out, Danny goes after Mike and loyalties between the two fathers are tested.
Set in New York City, this is not just another Neeson’s special-set-of-skills affair; there is a genuine story here and a substantial amount of character development. Few actors can embody regret and emotional self-torture like Neeson and, though the film bears all the hallmarks of modern action flick , it gives it depth. Additionally, the film’s action segments are equally entertaining, if a little low on production values and Serra manages to make much use of the NYC backdrop by filling it with exciting chase sequences and ferocious shootouts
There’s an intangible electricity that sparks every now and again through the film – something that is owed almost entirely to the two leads. There’s something mesmerising about watching Neeson and the criminally underrated Ed Harris working opposite one another in their very-first onscreen appearance together. The two veterans share a fair amount of screen-time and a decent dose of chemistry, while D’Onofrio plays his part as a dedicated cop. And so despite a lack of any real originality, these elements all add up to give Run All Night all the gravitas it needs to keep its viewers happy and satisfied, if not intellectually challenged.