A Walk among the Tombstones (2014)

(On Cable TV, July 2015) As much as I enjoy seeing Liam Neeson taking on action roles in borderline-exploitation thrillers, the problem is that he’s usually far better than the movies surrounding him, and he’s such a good actor that an unintentional layer of irony surrounds his Liamsploitation streak.  So it is that his most enjoyable roles have been in over-the-top thrillers, from Non-Stop to Unknown to The A-Team to Taken.  With the unusual exception of The Grey (serious film ; fantastic role), he doesn’t do as well in straight-up crime thrillers like A Walk Among the Tombstones, a humorless and dark suspense film in which he plays a private investigator tracking down the murdered wife of a mobster and finding a pair of serial killers.  It’s a dirty grimy little tale, and while Neeson is irreproachable as an ex-alcoholic retired cop turned to private investigations, the film itself is far duller than it ought to be.  In other words; Neeson is awesome, the film is not fun.  Adapted from a late-sequence Scudder series novel by Lawrence Block, the film sometimes feels like an overblown TV series pilot, complete with the story of how the protagonist meets and befriends his sidekick.  While it would be churlish not to like the result as a run-of-the-mill suspense film, seeing Neeson headlining the film does bring up unfair expectations.

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