Run all Night is a notable combination of Neeson’s more dramatic work from his early career, and his more recent tough action-hero appeal. Alongside fellow accomplished actor Ed Harris, and newcomer Joel Kinnamen, we see a more tense portrayal of Neeson’s strengths as an actor than you would expect from a macho action packed thriller.
After a brief glimpse at the nearing future, we are thrown back 16 hours to see ex-mobster and notorious hit-man, Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) drinking away his life in his best friend and mob boss Shawn Maguire’s (Ed Harris) bar. On a job, Jimmy’s estranged son Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnamen), a down-to-earth family man working as a limo driver, witnesses Maguire’s impulsive and reckless son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) killing off the competing drug gang. In order to save his son’s life, Jimmy has one night to decide where his loyalties lie; with a son who blames him for his reckless absence, or with his only and oldest friend Shawn.
So a retired, distant, and once violent father trying to make amends with his family, who eventually uses his ‘particular set of skills’ to get them out of a tricky situation… sound familiar? Before you dismiss it as just another rehashed version of Taken, I’m pleased to tell you this mob-thriller has more to offer than meets the eye. Other than the fact Neeson is an ex-criminal instead of an ex-cop, the plot could have easily been that of Taken 4 – and we all know we don’t need yet another movie to add to the worn-out trilogy.
Pleasingly, the cinematography and a more character-driven narrative gives the film an edge. An impressive array of distance shots flowing fast into close focus give the film a slight Scorsese feel, reminiscent of his work on Limitless. Director Jaume Collet-Serra makes full use of the New York locale and ensures a good flow to the movie, which serves to emphasise the brevity of the plot. Collet-Serra avoids the mistakes we saw in Taken 3, managing to imbue scenes with a certain darkness and giving us a variety of far more enjoyable action sequences.
Although fairly predictable as action movies go, and even with shades of a replica of Taken, it’s definitely worth the ticket price. Run all Night delivers the action, the thrills and the drama you’d expect and – unsurprinsingly, Liam Neeson doesn’t disappoint. He never does, does he?