Since Taken, the Liam Neeson actioner has almost become a sub-genre in its own right. Run All Night, which sees Neeson once again collaborate with Jaume Collet-Serra, director of Non-Stop and Unknown; has the 60+ actor reprise the kind of role he’s become synonymous with over the past few years; the morally questionable drinker, with a particular set of skills. This time around, he plays Jimmy ‘The Gravedigger’ Conlon; a hitman for the mob, who gets an opportunity for redemption when his son becomes targeted by the people Jimmy works for. He has one night to protect his estranged son from gangsters, crooked cops, and the souped up hitman, Mr Price.
Formulaic and extremely familiar, Run All Night doesn’t offer its audience anything new, or original, but it still manages to pack a hefty punch. The themes that often go hand in hand with gangster flicks, are all here; morality, redemption, and of course family, in the literal and metaphorical sense of the word. However, the script by Brad Ingelsby strays too often into the realms of cliché and silliness, to really give Run All Night, the same powerful impact as his previous work, Out Of The Furnace. That said, against my better judgment, I did find myself caring for the characters by the films climatic shoot-out; so whilst thematically limp, credit is due to Ingelsby, who successfully creates some interesting and investible character arcs.
First and foremost though, Run All Night is just really good fun. As much as it tries to go deeper, it’s all surface, with the action taking precedent over anything else. Strung together with car chases and gunfights, the film is pure entertainment. After the stinker that was Taken 3, Run All Night suggests that the Neeson action-film-formula, is far from exhausted, and this is arguably his best since the original Taken. Action packed and tense, it’s the type of film where you can just turn your brain off for nearly two hours, and revel in the mayhem. There’s nothing of any real substance and you’ve seen the same story before, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t leave you thoroughly entertained.
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