Saturday, 29 August 2015

Run All Night

Back in 2008, Liam Neeson gave us a new way to see him. With the words ‘I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills…’, we had a new reason to love him. He had become a bad-ass. Taken was a terrible film but a fantastic vehicle for Liam Neeson to kick the shit out of some nasty bastards and just generally be awesome. But over the following years, this formula was repeated to the point that it became tired and repetitive. With the Taken sequels and films like Unknown, The Grey and Non-Stop, Neeson became a parody of himself. And it’s not showing any signs of stopping.


From the director of Unknown and Non-Stop, Jaume Collet-Serra, comes another predictable thriller for Liam’s résumé; Run All Night, out now on Blu-Ray and DVD. Neeson plays a bitter drunken ex-mob enforcer named Jimmy "The Gravedigger" Conlon who has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie – to his estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) or his old friend and employer (Ed Harris) who wants Mike dead. Throw in a scary bespectacled contract killer named Price (Common) and lots of gunfights and car-chases, and you have Run All Night


Now, let’s not kid ourselves. Run All Night is no t a good film. It’s not an original film. But we all know why we’re here. We’re here for Liam. As long as we keep paying to watch these films, I’m sure Liam Neeson will continue to make them. To review Run All Night is to review any of his films of the past 5 years, because they’re all the same bloody film. Like John Grisham novels or episodes of The A-Team, the formula works so why change it? People don’t seem to care that it’s the same thing each time so why put any effort in, right? Like all of Neeson’s characters, Jimmy is haunted by his past. The film even opens with the cliché narration “I’ve done some terrible things in my life”. But that’s fairly irrelevant, like with all of his characters. It’s just a weak attempt to inject some drama and depth to an otherwise bland and unoriginal character. I’m not knocking Liam; he’s a great actor and he gives more life to these characters than anyone else could. But they’re still not interesting or original characters. Taken, Unknown, Non-Stop, The Grey…He plays the same bloke in all of them.

As such, it’s up to the supporting cast to make this more than just another ‘Liam Neeson with a gun’ film. Do they manage? Well, Ed Harris tries his bloody best in a performance that is far better than this film deserves. Joel Kinnaman is decent as Jimmy’s estranged and hunted son and Common is rather good as hitman Price. But still, the film cannot escape the Liam Neeson curse of being a predictable and wholly unoriginal 2 hours. The film is stylish, sure. The visuals are slick and bleak in equal measure, presenting the seedy side of New York City with great panache. But sometimes that isn’t enough. This is a case of style over substance. Infact, it’s a case of Liam Neeson over style over substance.


Run All Night does absolutely nothing to stand out from the pack of Neeson thrillers of recent years, and is an instantly forgettable film. It’s a moderately entertaining couple of hours if you have nothing else to do and want to switch your mind off for a bit, but if you’re looking for anything with depth and substance then you’re in the wrong place. Run All Night is the epitome of generic, cliché-ridden mediocrity.

Run All Night is, predictably, a load of shite. 2/5.

★★☆☆☆


Sam Love


Run All Night at CeX


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