“Run All Night:” Traditional, yet satisfying


Myles Aronowitz

Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

“I will find you, and I will kill you.” This famous line from “Taken” is synonymous with the masculinity that many of Liam Neeson’s characters emanate. His lead role in “Run All Night” is no exception.

Jaume Collet-Serra’s third time directing a Liam Neeson movie is a success in our eyes, comparable to “Non-Stop”—also a Collet-Serra and Neeson collaboration—and “Taken.” While there is not much mystery behind the unfolding of the plot, viewers are still in for an action-packed ride that is guaranteed to keep them entertained from start to finish.

Collet-Serra presents Neeson’s character Jimmy Conlon as a washed-up retired criminal with a haunted past, but this time Neeson plays the hunted instead of the hunter. Jimmy and his son Michael Conlon become caught up in a frantic run for their lives when Jimmy is forced to kill Danny, the son of Jimmy’s lifelong crime-boss friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). Following the murder, the father/son duo must evade Shawn’s men, the NYPD, and Andrew Price—a highly skilled, ruthless assassin played by Common. Although Shawn is presented as Jimmy’s biggest adversary, Andrew arguably poses the largest threat. When Shawn contacts Andrew to track down Jimmy and his son, he responds, “I’ll kill that mother****er for free,” making it clear he will stop at nothing to see Jimmy and his son dead.

Even though there is no ambiguity surrounding the villains in “Run All Night,” unlike in the “Taken” franchise or in “Non-Stop,” a typecast Neeson still plays the same character as he does in these films: a former professional trained to kill who is thrown into a deadly situation where he must become a gun-slinging one-man army.

Despite this, we did notice and appreciate the heavier character development for Jimmy than has been traditionally afforded Neeson’s action characters. Throughout the movie, Jimmy and Michael’s scenes are colored with personal dialogue about the past that opens up fresh wounds between Jimmy and his son. In this sense, Collet-Serra does a good job pushing for a progression in the relationship between Jimmy and Michael. However, more dialogue scenes between the two are needed to make a connection with the audience. The combination of typical action blockbuster aspects with the absence of any major plot twist removes the possibility of big picture surprises, which will hinder “Run All Night” in gaining critical prestige.

Yet, it was no surprise that we thoroughly enjoyed this film and its ordinary plot. Like many Americans, we have come to expect—and even crave—qualities such as high-speed car chases in action movies. We like to see an unstoppable hero who has the odds stacked against him and still miraculously manages to reach his end goal. If you enjoyed Neeson and Collet-Serra’s other films, go see “Run All Night.”

Liam Neeson will find his enemies, he will kill his enemies, and you will be satisfied.

Film: “Run All Night”

Starring: Liam Neeson

Rating: ★★★½☆