Liam Neeson must be one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood at the moment. A glance at his output on IMDb shows that he’s never really been short of work, but post-Taken in 2008, he has been utterly prodigious. It’s also interesting to note that the possible preconception of his work during that time is mainly low-budget action affairs, but once again, a glance at that very list shows he’s mixing it up somewhat with the odd comedy role (cameo or otherwise) thrown in for good measure. He’s clearly enjoying a career renaissance of sorts in his advancing years – he’ll be 63 in June this year – which is nothing but a good thing for all those Liam Neeson fans out there.
So onto his latest offering, Run All Night. Rotten Tomatoes tells us this is only 59% rotten from some 120 reviews (to date) while the user rating on IMDb (currently) stands at 7.2 from 3,802 users. This, I think, is more in line with the standing of Run All Night. I was hooked from the first time I witnessed the trailer; what could be more appealing than Mr. Neeson and Ed Harris butting heads over the death of a son? And that’s no spoiler, it’s all in the trailer. Which is a pertinent point, really, as usually when you see a trailer that pretty much shows you the whole film in condensed format, it’s a case of thinking “Well, what’s the point in going to see it now?” (The Gunman anyone?). That wasn’t the case with this particular piece of Hollywood and I think that’s down to the cast on offer and the interest of the premise.
As is de rigueur with Hollywood at the moment, the audience is asked whether the seemingly irredeemable are worthy of redemption. Come to think of it, these kinds of characters have always appeared in some form or another. I can think of the gangster movies of the 1930’s in particular that questioned the morality of man and whether he is worthy of redemption. The likes of James Cagney in The Public Enemy (1931) all the way to Al Pacino in Scarface (1983) – which itself was a remake of the 1932 original – have presented the audience with an anti-hero. To an extent, Run All Night is the same; Mr. Neeson’s character, Jimmy Conlon, is dealing with personal demons brought about by a life lived on the wrong side of the tracks, but is now given focus through the need to protect his son Mike, played by Joel Kinnaman.
Run All Night hits all the right notes at all the right times. The three principles are well supported by Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill and Holt McCallany (he’s not so embarrassed to be in this one); and it’s always nice to see Vincent D’Onofrio on the big screen, this time as the detective who’s been pursuing Jimmy for the last 30-odd years. All-in-all, Run All Night is a well-paced, well written, gritty piece of cinema that enhances Liam Neeson’s reputation as the older alternative to Jason Statham. Now there’s a two-hander I’d pay good money to see!
Thank you for reading 🙂