Run All Night (2015)

(Video on Demand, June 2015)  Are we ever going to get enough of Liam Neeson as an action hero?  Maybe not just yet, especially when he can elevate straight-up genre material with a good performance.  In Run All Night, he plays a little bit more downtrodden than usual as a Mob enforcer far past his prime, reduced to playing Santa Claus for his boss’ family in order to pay his heating repair bills.  He is being kept around out of loyalty by the Big Boss (Ed Harris), but when things heat up and his estranged son kills the Boss’ son, the usual rules don’t apply and what follows is a night-long chase through New York, as organized crime, hired assassins and the police all try to find our heroes.  It gets a bit complex at times, but the point is seeing Liam Neeson’s character regain his dignity and (once again) save his family from harm.  Director Jaume Collet-Serra seems a bit more restrained than usual here, although the frantic Google-Earth-inspired scene transitions give a taste of his trademark directorial insanity.  There are no crazy plot twists, though, as Run All Night remains a straightforward crime thriller, all the way to a relatively conventional ending.  It’s not quite as compelling as other Liamspoilation movies, but there’s undeniable satisfaction in seeing Neeson face off against Harris (even if mostly by phone) in a grim dark thriller with some thematic depth.  It probably could have been a bit better – Joel Kinnaman is a charisma void in one of the film’s major roles and the script could have used a bit of tightening up.  Neeson can do better, Collet-Serra can do better, we viewers can do better.  But as far as such crime thrillers go, it’s a solid middle-of-the-road effort.

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