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‘Run All Night’ stars Liam Neeson with a “similar set of skills”

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Photo: screenrant.com

Liam Neeson thrilled audiences with the first Taken movie by unleashing a “particular set of skills.” Now, he returns with a slight variation on the ruthless archetype with Run All Night.  

Neeson portrays Jimmy Conlon, a retired enforcer for his childhood buddy, Shawn Maguire, who grew up to be a successful mobster. Jimmy might have been the brawn, but he also was the heart, and that line of work wore on him. Shawn (Ed Harris) has moved onto more legitimate business ventures, with little regret about how he got there. Meanwhile, Shawn’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) is trying to expand his father’s empire.

Unfortunately, Danny’s actions intersect with Jimmy’s son Michael (Joel Kinnaman), who wants nothing to do with Danny or his father’s world. A series of events then pits Jimmy against his former boss in hopes of protecting his family.

Run All Night’s story unfolds at a decent pace, allowing for some nice moments of character development. One weak spot was how this lonely drunk so quickly flipped into ass-kicking mode. Adrenalin and fear, perhaps? The writers also relied quite heavily on the adage; the sins of the father are visited upon the sons. Speaking of the sons, their casting is part of the movie’s strength. As Jimmy Conlon’s son Michael, Kinnaman (the MVP of The Killing) is convincing as a family man not accustomed to this type of mayhem. However, his strong physical presence makes it believable that he stands a chance of survival. Holbrook, who costarred with Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones, brings a kinetic desperation to his portrayal of the inept Maguire heir.

Neeson has embraced and tweaked this action alter ego in the other movies, including the airplane adventure Non Stop and the gruesome ‘Tombstones.’ With Run All Night, he gets to explore the family dynamics. Oscar-winner Common arrives later in the film with a chilling performance. His single-mindedness is scary. Director Jaume Collet-Serra has worked with Neeson before (on Non-Stop and Unknown). The look and tone appears to be influenced by the great films like the French Connection, Three Days of the Condor and perhaps the Michael Mann masterpiece, Heat.

The film is entertaining, and the great ensemble sells the relationships. The film is rated R for its violence (primarily guns and car chases) and language.

 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: screenrant.com