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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Movie Review- Run All Night

Ed Harris squares off against Liam Neeson in Run All Night


 
Liam Neeson said in a fairly recent interview, that he's dumbfounded by his popularity as an action star. It makes sense. Most action stars are decades younger than him. I believe that his charismatic acting style and commanding presence are what sells tickets to his movies. Who cares that he's in his sixties? He delivers a more realistic performance than other "geriatric" action stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger could ever do and, he can control his native Irish accent as well. Normally, unwatchable films like Non-Stop, the Taken films, and Unknown, would be a complete waste of time without Neeson's appearances. I don't know how much longer Liam can keep on doing these types of films but, I definitely prefer his action movies over anything that Taylor Lautner (Abduction) or Shailene Woodley (Divergent) could bestow upon us.

Movie Review- Run All Night is marketed as another Neeson action-fest but, in truth, it's more like......... ok, it is another Neeson action vehicle. At times, it doesn't feel that way, until of course, he ends up bitch smacking another aggressive on comer. What I like about this action film though, is that it doesn't come off as a brain dead beat 'em up where Neeson is the only intelligent person in the room. Instead, we get a well-paced action thriller that doesn't linger around on any subject for too long. Well, except for Joel Kinnaman's (Robocop 2014) character, who needs to continuously remind Neeson of how much of a bad father he is. That aside, all of the character interactions work. Not one person stays on the screen longer than they should. Another thing that separates Run All Night from similar films, is how nicely it cuts down on the obvious cliches and, sometimes avoids them altogether. The action, is well done and doesn't go over the top very often. A few CG scene connector shots, try to give this film it's own distinctive look but, it comes off more like trying to look cool when they didn't need to. 

In this "sins of the father" cautionary tale, the actors each get proper time to make their mark. Neeson stays true to his character throughout the film and never sells out. My only complaint about him though, is how can a constant drunk be able to "Run All Night", blasting fools, after only having a nap and a sandwich? Oh yeah, it's a movie. Kinnaman as Neeson's son, father berating aside, is a sympathetic lead that holds his own. Ed Harris (The Abyss) as the villain, is good as always. With his character's warped morality, he just makes you want to see more and more. He and Neeson work very well together. Vincent D'Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket), as a veteran detective who treats Neeson as the one that got away, plays to his strengths and isn't overused. Common's (Smokin Aces) role is the only one that I thought was exaggerated. He's cool as a hitman but, some of his abilities slightly carry over into comic book territory. Nick Nolte (Tropic Thunder) has a one scene uncredited cameo that was reportedly much longer before this film was edited. His appearance throws another curveball into Kinnaman's and Neeson's relationship. Is it needed? I'm not sure but, as a metaphor for how the past keeps catching up with you, it works.


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Run All Night

The Good- The New York subway bathroom fight, Neeson vs. Common, Neeson vs. Harris & his gang, Neeson's invincible car, and a distraught Harris is brutal with a blade.

The Bad- Neeson's misguided morality for his son, where's a cop during a car chase when you need one?, and a predictable "Road to Perdition" ending.

The Ugly- Veteran actor Bruce McGill's mute role as Harris' right hand man. How can they use this cool guy who's been in films like The Last Boy Scout, My Cousin Vinny, Timecop, Collateral, Cinderella Man, and Law Abiding Citizen, as a quiet nobody? He's the guy you want to have dialogue! He livens up a screen. In this case, he would have livened up that dark ass bar he stood around in, where he looked more like an old bouncer.


Final Thoughts on Run All Night

Run All Night is a decent run/shoot/chase film that entertains like a good rental that you weren't sure if it was worth your time in the first place. See this as a matinee. It especially works as a good filler between now and the start of the Summer season. Besides, you need to see Neeson as a drunk Santa talking about his twelve inches.
Rating- 6.5 out of 10

Running Time- 114 Minutes
Action/Drama/Thriller

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