Let’s get this out’ve the way right now. It’s the same film again. Liam Neeson has just brought out another film about a distant father figure having to bond with his estranged child by punching people, shooting things and jumping over stuff. Run All Night is out now and stars Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman and Ed Harris.
The film opens with an over head shot of a seemingly dead Liam Neeson lying on the ground in the middle of a forest floor with a gunshot wound and a voice over says “I’ve done many bad things” or something to that effect. Which if I were to list would be Taken 3, Walk among the Tombstones, Non-Stop…etc. You get the point.
It feels to me that Liam Neeson saw the Expendables movies and wished that he had an embarrassingly long back catalogue of action films so he’s been trying to do them all in less than five years. If that’s what he’s doing then there’s a certain amount of respect there as he does seem to be working quite hard at speaking in a gruff voice and being a bad father.
Run All Night puts Liam Neeson in the role of Jimmy Conlon an ageing hitman (of course), he has a drinking problem and is rude to his friends wives and it would take, probably, something terrible to happen to his estranged child before he would snap out of it. And snap out of it he does. The first act is almost from a different film than the rest, it works so hard to show you that Liam Neeson has done bad things and regrets them and has a drinking problem and is abrasive. He can’t even fall off a chair properly he’s so drunk. All he’s good for is saying rude things about his friends wife. Which I can’t quite quote here, but talking about his reproductive system is as close as he gets to a catch phrase in this movie. It’s not quite Yippee Ki-Yay. Even after they show you that he can’t stay sober long enough to get drunk he instantly shakes off years of alcoholism to jump and shoot and punch.
Jimmy’s son Mike (Kinnaman) is a Limo driver and acts as a father figure to some kids at a gym, teaching them to box. One night he has to give a lift to some bad looking guys who yell some bad dialogue at each other that the Grand Theft Auto games discarded and there ends up being some murders. Having witnessed the murders Mike suddenly comes under threat of being killed by the son of Shawn Maguire, Jimmy’s boss and only friend. Danny, Shawn’s son, goes to Mikes house, pulls a gun on him and gets shot in the head by Jimmy.
That’s the plot dealt with, now it becomes another 100 minutes of people being shot at, followed by the police, car chases, bad dialogue etc. The main issue being that they have tried to write a gritty noir thriller for Liam Neeson to remind everyone he was once a serious dramatic actor also. Brad Ingelsby should pair up with someone the next time he has an idea for a Liam Neeson movie, because it is quite an interesting idea but with too many strands, and it ends up feeling contrived and underwhelming.
I think Michael Spicer once said something like that when Liam Neeson gets a script he does the following things.
Hit Ctrl + F
Search for ‘Gun’
If number of results is more than 100 then do film if not get new script and repeat until film is made.
The positive thing I can say about it is that I have started to grow to dislike the film more and more, but while I was in the cinema and just after there was a lot to discuss and I think the film could be enjoyed more as a B-Movie, if it was Danny Dyer in the lead role for example it may have pleased his fans more than Liam Neesons. Ultimately though, I’m still waiting for something Liam Neeson does to come close to Taken. On the bright side the Liam Neeson : Bad Dad boxset is going to be gigantic.