IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 114 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Jimmy Conlon, more commonly known as The Gravedigger, was a mob hit-man and is still best friends with his boss Sean Maguire. Now retired, he’s damaged by the life he chose for himself and is now a drunk who is broke and estranged from his family. One night his son Mike, a taxi driver, is transporting some hitmen and gets involved in a shooting. Jimmy saves his life, but in the process kills Sean’s son. Sean promises to hunt down Jimmy and Mike and kill them…
The third collaboration between director Jaume Collet-Serra and star Liam Neeson, Run All Night is probably the best of the three films and Neeson’s most enjoyable film in quite a while, with the man himself, given a bit more of a chance to show his acting chops, is so good one can almost forgive him for the dire Taken 3. This film borrows the device used in Carlito’s Way and others by opening with its main protagonist seemingly dying and then proceeding to show us how the character got into this situation. Some of the early parts of the film are a little clumsy, so much so that it took me a while to work out the relationships of all the characters, and Road To Perditon is heavily borrowed from, but once the chase is on one almost forgets all that. Serra stages some cracking action scenes, including a vicious fight in a public bathroom, a foot chase involving lots of jumping over fences, and an exciting car chase ending in a good [real as well] stunt. Meanwhile the central relationship between father and son is well handled and avoids easy sentimentality. Especially effectively done is how Mike, despite being well aware of the world Jimmy, who walked out on him and his mother years ago, inhabits, is startled by Jimmy’s ability to kill people, and how Jimmy doesn’t want Mike to be like him. There’s a theme about the corrosive effects of violence in Brad Ingelsby’s screenplay without hampering the fun of seeing Neeson running around killing people again. The film even gives us another Taken-style moment where he can threaten somebody on a phone.
There are some silly parts, like how ridiculously easy it seems to be to escape a huge number of cops surrounding a tower block, and the film could probably have benefitted from ending about ten minutes earlier than it actually does [though that would required removing the beginning] but the film is suspenseful throughout after the first twenty minutes and occasionally provides us with a moment that is really strong, notably an excellently written and played [well, the other guy is the superb Ed Harris] scene where Jimmy goes to tell Sean that he’s killed his son. Shakycam is thankfully in quite short supply, and in fact some of Martin Ruhe’s camerawork is very strong, though some dizzying swooping in and out of locations get a little annoying. Overall Run All Night is a solid action thriller which attempts a bit more depth than is usual for these things and is fairly satisfying.