By: Jacob Bloodee Jacob Babcock
“Run All Night” released in 2015 and is the third collaboration between Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra, having previously worked on Unknown and Non-Stop. This follows Neeson as an aging former hit man Jimmy Conlon who is worn down and at the end of his rope due to all his regret of what he’s done in his life. Over the course of one night he is put on a collision course with old mob boss friend, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), when his son (Joel Kinnaman) is forced to kill Maguire’s son. Jimmy must do all he can to attempt to aid his estranged son and his family in time.
I’m just going to say this right off the bat, this is my favorite Liam Neeson movie and a new all time favorite of mine in general. It’s really more of a crime drama/thriller with some tense action and violence that ends up having more to say and more emotional resonance than you’d expect. There is a care taken to the characters, their history and their present day interactions/dialogue that goes beyond what anyone would perceive from the trailers as it was just marketed to be another Taken-style movie, where as it is a film of much more substance and worth then that.
To be clear that’s not to say there isn’t action, cause there is! The climax is especially well put together and executed but there’s also a couple fight scenes and chase scenes earlier on that are pretty notable as well. Common plays hit man Price who is sent after the father-son duo and he has a very good confrontation with Neeson. Unfortunately around this time is where a couple parts get a bit choppy and noticeably a little sped up where as I would have taken it as however it was instead. To Neeson’s credit though many in the cast and crew have said how hard he still goes and how much dedication he has when providing input into his fight scenes, somehow managing to hold up better than his younger cast mates.
The film falls just a little under two hours and to me they pulled off about the perfect runtime as the pacing came off deliberate and built up evenly in each act, the tension nearing a breakneck pace while still giving the characters room to breathe to make you care about them. Yes I honestly cared about Neeson’s character Jimmy, his relationship with his son and the themes running throughout it. Even generally felt like real people. Common is believable even if he is the most one note character in the movie, he played his part just about as well as anyone could. Other memorable cast members include the great Vincent D’Onofrio, Boyd Holbrook, Genesis Rodriguez, Nick Nolte in a key role who for some reason had scenes cut, Bruce McGill, Lois Smith and Malcolm Goodwin who was one of the best parts of the comedy horror series iZombie.
Overall Run All Night is a new all time favorite for me with its incredible blend of gritty white knuckle action with real care to it’s story and a character driven core that pays off with an actual arc that will stick in my head. Liam Neeson proves what a superb and all time great actor he still is despite casual audiences perception of him just being the action guy. Excellent movie!