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Film Review: Shoot, run, repeat

Liam Neeson is not the best father in Run All Night. In fact, he admits to being a downright scoundrel. Neeson is very much the opposite of his CIA-trained, “good guy” persona in the Taken films, where he lays his life on the line for his daughter.


By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Saturday 28 March 2015, 10:00AM


Three Stars

Run All Night

Starring
Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Common, Holt McCallany and Nick Nolte

Director
Jaume Collet-Serra
Running time: 114 minutes

 

No, in Run All Night Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, a drunk, absentee father who has had to lead a life of crime just to survive. But he gets one night to right all of his wrongs as he protects his son Michael from, of all people, his best friend, a crime boss named Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). A tangled web of murder, involving Maguire’s son and Jimmy’s trigger finger, is the catalyst for what is essentially being called “Taken 4” by several film bloggers.

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But the truth is that Run All Night has more heart, drama and intrigue than the Taken films. There are several reasons for this but particularly because of the chemistry between Neeson, Harris and Joel Kinnaman (Michael Conlon). By the end credits, audiences could be clamouring for a TV series that portrays the lead-up to this film. Such is the powerful momentum that is shared across the screen.

The interactions feel raw yet with a twinge of emotional depth that make us feel as though there is a lot of interesting history between the characters that simply can’t be shown in 114 minutes. Perhaps one of the best dialogue scenes in the film takes place between Neeson and Harris at a restaurant, when both men confront each other before the action starts. The lead-up is done brilliantly and the dialogue is sharp without being tacky.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra is no stranger to action films, as Run All Night completes a veritable triple-threat of Neeson-led movies in his repertoire (including Unknown and Non-Stop). His fast cuts are very much “new school” that is both hit-and-miss. A perfect example is the choppy car chase scene in this film.

Still, Collet-Serra is a master of maximising space, getting into all the nooks and crannies of a particular setting to put the audience in a position to observe the difficulty and drama in each scene. This comes to play when a hitman named Mr Price, hired by Maguire and played by Common, goes after our father and son team in a building. It’s done very well with shadows, colours and furniture playing as much of a role in it as our shooters.

As with any Neeson action film of the past five years, the fight scenes are believable and gritty. Kind of makes you scared of the guy if you see him on the street. But Run All Night is still not as fun as Taken. Great character development and acting chemistry still makes Taken a better bet as an action film, though Run All Night is still a rainy day thriller worth a watch.

 

 

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