Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.
The third collaboration between director Jaume Collet-Serra and actor Liam Neeson following ‘Unknown’ and ‘Non-Stop’ is another action thriller that steps away from the mystery angle to focus on a full on battle between an aging gangster (Ed Harris) and his former trusted lieutenant (Liam Neeson). The film introduces us to Neeson’s Jimmy Conlon, an aging hitman that used to work for Shawn Maguire (Harris) and who is now essentially an alcoholic estranged from his son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman). When Mike accidentally sees something he shouldn’t, Jimmy is forced to enter into a battle with his former boss to protect his son. Throughout the night where these events take place, a police detective (Vincent D’Onofrio), a hired contract killer (Common) and Mike’s wife (Genesis Rodriguez) and children are drawn into the crossfire.
Liam Neeson’s late career renaissance as an action hero has created some memorable characters, and he’s as reliable as ever here, helped along by a stronger than normal cast with Ed Harris matching him for intensity and Joel Kinnaman building on his promise with another solid display. There’s a couple of occasions when the film threatens to be something greater, such as an excellent scene between Harris and Neeson in a diner that’s clearly going for Pacino and De Niro in ‘Heat’ and not quite getting there, whilst an action sequence in a tower block is ripe with possibilities. One of the main disappointments with the film is the way in which Collet-Serra has taken a strong premise and some good actors and muddled his message with a convoluted plot that adds unnecessary features (a little too much backstory for Jimmy for example which takes away from the main plot). The father/son angle has been done better before and this is one film where a tighter focus on the pulpy action would have worked in its favour.
Collet-Serra shows some nice directorial flourishes (I liked the overhead cityscapes used as a bridge when moving from location to location), but I think the film overall lacks a few things to make this as enjoyable as some of Neeson’s other recent action adventures (‘Unknown’, from the same director for one). In particular, ‘Run All Night’ could have benefited from a better soundtrack than the serviceable work provided by Junkie XL, which never helps elevates the material to the next level. ‘Run All Night’ is another solid action vehicle for Liam Neeson, with a good premise and some excellent actors for him to play off, but it never reaches the pulpy heights the excellent trailer and cast threatens.
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Common, Boyd Holbrook, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bruce McGill, Holt McCallany and Nick Nolte