It’s hard to remember time when Liam Neeson wasn’t playing the loose canon agent role. But unfortunately with the way Hollywood works, it seems we are going to continue seeing this part for many years to come. His latest gung ho adventure is entitled Run All Night, a movie that snuck up on me until just last month. After seeing the trailers, quite a few times, here is what I, and maybe you, have come to expect:
- Liam Neeson playing his typical role
- Lots of exciting gunplay and action
- A typical crime/drama plot of some sort
As always, my job is to do my best to inform you about what you get. So here we go.
- If you haven’t grown tired of Liam Neeson playing the fearless bad boy than chances are you won’t be disappointed with this role. This time around he plays Jimmy, a hit man for his best friend Sean (Ed Harris) who runs a corrupt set of businesses that essentially cover the city. As always, his character has some traumatic past that has ripped away his emotions, with only one or two things to keep him tethered to his life. Neeson still brings that intense, smooth, isotonic tone to the big screen, seldom deviating from the voice that won so many in Taken. It’s old hat by now, so don’t expect too much difference other than he is not the hero in this tale.
- Also carrying over is the typical action that Neeson is associated with these days. Now I admit this action is not consistent between films, but for the most part they follow a similar formula. Fortunately, director Jaume Collet-Serra decided to return to the action roots of Taken and learning to balance gunplay with plot. Fans will enjoy the epic stunts pulled off in this movie including a fast and furious car chase, strategic fleeing from an army of cops, and shoot outs spread throughout the entire New York city scape. While it is still amazing how accurate our hero is, the bad guys for once aren’t completely incompetent when working a gun. Jimmy and his son (Joel Kinnaman) take a near brush with death once or twice in this film. With the lack of immortality that is usually bestowed to our heroes, the suspense of this movie kept me intrigued. Even better was the introduction of different types of thugs ranging from nameless henchmen to special grade professional killers (aka rapper Common). The thugs bring about their own set of skills that Jimmy has to fend off and brings some diversity to a series that is desperately needing it. What else does that mean for you? Lots of blood and close up shots of Jimmy taking down bad guys one body at a time.
- The plot itself has the same structural framework of Neeson’s character being pulled into some dark scheme that he has to shoot his way out of. The twist this time is a vendetta that is set up when Jimmy shoots his best friend’s son, who was already in a lot of mess before the movie. A simplistic tale of protecting family and shooting bad guys follows, which should please many an action fan alike. The plot is balanced with just enough details to keep the action going, but not dragged out to ebb the adrenaline. Despite it being predictable, I must say that this movie is one of the better Neeson films in terms of character development. Sure there are some details that are skimped or left unanswered, and some plot elements are quite redundant and unnecessary. However, for the most part the information is kept in check and supportive for the whole movie and a decent action plot nonetheless.
- I can say the sound and video editing are also well designed in this movie. The camera work, for the most part, is steady and stable, capturing all the glorious action for you to see. Fans may jump out of their seat, either in joy or fear, as the guns blare in glorious high definition, the bullets ricocheting off the numerous metallic walls. In addition, the editing team also did a great job finding shots that helped add a subtle taste of drama to the mix, once or twice attempting to fool you as to what would happen. The team also managed to do all this in a convenient 105 minutes, something that most movies fail to accomplish.
I could talk more about things like acting, but aside from Liam Neeson most aren’t going to care about the assembled cast. So why don’t we wrap this review up. Run All Night is a decent movie that brings the adrenaline of Taken rushing back to you. Neeson’s typical character will lead you on an adventure that should please action junkies until Fast 7 arrives. While the story could use some more development in terms of characters, it is not the worst plot I’ve ever seen. Still fans of the Scottish actor’s past films are not going to want to miss this movie as it stands high on my list of his movies. Worth a trip to the theater? For the special effects and movie magic, I have to say yes. However, you could probably get by watching Taken at home until the movie comes out on Netflix.
As always here are my scores:
Movie Overall: 7.0