Liam Neeson (‘Batman Begins’) has become a victim of his own success.
Virtually every movie Neeson has starred in since 2008 has been compared to the highly entertaining ‘Taken’.
Many of Neeson’s film since then have failed to live up to the hype but his most recent offering, ‘Run All Night’, is surprisingly good.
Let’s face it. There’s something truly mesmerising about what happens when you hand Liam Neeson a big coat and a gun. What usually ensues is a litany of bloodlust and wanton destruction. What’s not to like?
Last year’s ‘A Walk Amongst The Tombstones’ was utterly disappointing but thankfully in ‘Run All Night’, Neeson has found his spark again.
Neeson plays washed up Irish-American hit-man, Jimmy Conlon, who despite being broke and with an alcohol problem, continues to have the ear of one of the bosses of New York’s most powerful gangs.
The gangland boss is called Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris - ‘A History of Violence’) and both he and Conlon were childhood friends.
When Maguire’s son, Danny (‘A Walk Amongst the Tombstones’), sets out to kill Jimmy’s estranged son Michael (Joel Kinnaman - ‘RoboCop’), he is left with no choice but to save Michael and kill his best friend’s son.
Jimmy contacts Maguire immediately after killing Danny and despite their friendship Maguire informs Jimmy that he intends to kill him and his son.
Michael puts his differences aside and agrees to let his father have one night to try and straighten things out.
When it comes to being derivative ‘Run All Night’ is as subtle as Dave Best’s ‘Temple’ in the Waterside.
There is a scene at the start of the film where Maguire’s son brings an Albanian gangster to his father’s office. The gangster is there to offer Maguire the chance to enter the drug trade - the scene very similar to the one involving Don Corleone, Sonny and the Turk in Ford Coppolla’s ‘The Godfather’.
Collet-Serra’s movie also feels like a modern version of the brilliant ‘Road to Perdition’ but despite it’s reliance on other films, ‘Run All Night’ is still extremely entertaining.
The chemistry between Neeson and on-screen son Kinnaman is excellent.
When it comes to being derivative ‘Run All Night’ is as subtle as Dave Best’s ‘Temple’ in the Waterside.Derry Journal film critic, Andrew Quinn
Kinnaman, a talented young actor, plays the part of the erstwhile son very well, but the star of the show is Neeson.
Neeson will be entitled to a bus pass in three years but his penchant for on-screen violence makes him as youthful and as relevant as he was 20 years ago.
One thing I didn’t like was how Collet-Serra linked some of the scenes up with a technique akin to how you can zoom into a particular area using Google Maps.
Although I found ‘Run All Night’ a little frustrating and as sophisticated as a full stop it didn’t stop me from enjoying myself.
Liam Neeson, his big coat and his gun have another few movies left in them yet!
VERDICT: 3/5 - Let’s face it. Liam Neeson in a big coat with a gun in his hand is as natural a thing as childbirth and despite some people claiming that it has run its course I still think he has few films of this ilk to make yet.
‘Run all night’ is far from perfect and it’s awfully derivative but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it.
The chemistry between Neeson and on-screen son Kinnaman is excellent and the relationship between Neeson and Harris’ character is not bad either.
The film does frustrate but if action movies are your thing then chances are you will enjoy ‘Run All Night’.