Run All Night (18)
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman and Vincent D’Onofrio
Running time: 114 min
SET in Brooklyn, Run All Night finds Liam Neeson playing a roll I very much doubt he had to audition for. It would seem the part has been written with his star-power-draw in mind.
As a former hit-man to an un-named and barely referred to organised crime syndicate, his character, Jimmy Conlon, is a washed-up alcoholic waster relying on favours from his now straight former mentor Shawn Maguire, neatly played by Ed Harris (Pollock, The Abyss, A Beautiful Mind).
Since forgoing his real family for his crime family, drink is Jimmy’s only solace from the memories haunting his every moment. Add to that the dogged determination of Detective Harding (D’Onofrio) trying to find the true number of the ‘Gravedigger’s’ kills and Jimmy’s life of misery trudges the first fifteen minutes as writer Brad Ingelsby and director Juame Collet-Serra attempt to set the mood for this lack-lustre thriller.
Enter the Don’s son, Danny Maguire, (Boyd Holbrook of Little Accidents and Very Good Girls) desperate to prove himself to his father as an asset to the firm with a couple tough of Algerian smack dealers and the audience is briefly lifted from melancholy to something worthy of the film’s budget. After a shoot-out gone wrong, Danny’s dead and Jimmy’s son Mike (Joel Kinnaman – a big hit in Sweden) is in the picture for the murder. Former allies now turn into sworn enemies, each knowing the only outcome will be one of their deaths.
And so begins the cat and mouse game. Self-hate, abandonment issues, the prowling Mr Price, a contract killer sent to murder the former assassin – but “only when he sees his son die in front of him” and so it rolls on. To say it rolls feebly would be an injustice. There are some thrilling scenes. But it’s so slick and obvious it does make you look at your phone and check it’s not April 1. The ubiquitous shot to the upper arm is delivered – rendering Jimmy one armed – when the plot suits him. A bad fall leaves him with a limp which appears to shift from leg to leg which undoubtedly will be picked up by some Movie Bloopers show in the not too distance future… there’s the railway scene where the old masters try to out wit one another and of course the heart rendering ending.
No strong women, the one female actor with lines (Genesis Rodriguez) is there only as a weakness, not something worth exploring. The score is as generic as the plot, low cellos, tubas for the uber creepy moments and pitched violins inform us when something exciting is supposed to be happening.
Other leading men adapt to differing roles: Denzel can do it, so can Cruise, Pacino, Willis ad infinitum, surely so can Northern Ireland’s finest? If only he’d give himself the chance.
If you regretfully refuse to heed my advice and do see this film, walk toward the movie theatre slowly and give a pound of your entrance fee to every beggar you meet, then cross the road and buy yourself a pint or two, everyone will feel a bit better.
2 out of 5 Nerds