AM At The Movies: ‘Run All Night’

Above: Liam Neeson is at it again starring in the action thriller 'Run All Night'

Run All Night
Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent D’Onofrio
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Run Time: 114 minutes

At this point, the plot of just any action movie starring Liam Neeson is pretty much the same. It goes something like this:

Neeson is a former cop/enforcer that gets wronged in some way, shape or form and he has to spend the remainder of the movie defending himself and/or his family until he’s pretty much killed everyone. Liam Neeson stars in Taken 4: Unknown Guy Walks Amongst the Tombstones Non-Stop After Running All Night.

Let’s be honest: if it were an actual movie, the title would be stylized as T4KEN.

Run All Night isn’t so much a movie as a collection of cliches from films from this once fresh, now played out genre.

Friends from the neighbourhood come up together – one becomes the boss (Harris), the other the muscle (Neeson). The boss’ kid (Boyd Holbrook) wants to be just like dad. The enforcer’s kid (Kinnamen) wants nothing to do with him. Years later, there is an issue and the families get to fighting. Some third party Europeans – this time, they’re Albanian – are looking to smuggle drugs and get caught up in the chaos.

There are dirty cops and a grizzled homicide detective (D’Onofrio) that has been after the muscle for years, but could never make anything stick. There’s a car chase through busy New York streets, a game of cat and mouse in a train yard, a hitman called in to get the job done right and unnecessary bullet time sequences thrown in because who doesn’t like bullet time sequences?

Neeson and Collet-Serra have teamed up on two previous efforts, Unknown (2011) and last year’s Non-Stop (2014), which most people consider Taken on a Plane, though it’s better than that. It’s also significantly better than this.

Run All Night is a paint-by-numbers entry in the “Liam Neeson Kills Everyone” genre that has come to include the likes to Pierce Brosnan (The November Man) and Kevin Costner (3 Days to Kill). There is zero depth to the characters, nothing memorable about any of the performances and kicks off with a worn-out “Here I lay, shot, thinking about how I got here” opening before rewinding 18 hours and showing you just how he came to be laying there, shot.

Just as a friendly FYI to all writers and directors: when you show the audience where the ending is going to take place, none of the action that happens anywhere other than that exact location carries any weight because everyone knows the star is going to survive until he/she ends up at that location from the opening scene.

That move is played out. Please stop using it. And, please stop making this exact movie 3-5 times a year… Mr. Neeson, it’s time to move on. Everyone knows you’re a bad ass by this point; now it’s time to remind them that you were once an outstanding actor.

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