RUN ALL NIGHT
Review by Gordon Justesen
Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Nolte, Bruce McGill, Genesis
Rodriguez, Common, Ed Harris
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 114 Minutes
Release Date: June 16, 2015
“You know how this has to end, right?”
Many seem to agree that ever since the release of Taken in 2009, Liam Neeson has been relegated to the same kind of role...that of a one man army never hesitating to take down any and every bad guy in his way. It actually irritates me when I hear somebody label one of his new movies as just another variation on Taken. What nobody seems to point out is that outside that franchise, the movies Neeson pops up in are not only different...but actually a lot better, in particular last year’s vastly underrated A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Such is the case with Run All Night, which reunites Neeson with director Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed the actor in Unknown and last year’s heart-stopper of a thriller, Non-Stop. These two work incredibly well off one another, and bringing them together has always resulted in quality action thrillers. I, for one, hope this working relationship continues for future projects.
Although we have Neeson in his trademark badass role, the twist here is that he isn’t playing a very good man. Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) was once the top hitman for an Irish mafia outfit, as well as close friends with crime boss, Sean Maguire (Ed Harris). Once going by the alias of The Gravedigger, Jimmy currently spends his downtime drunk and constantly needing a hand out, in exchange for embarrassing gigs such as dressing up as Santa Claus for a Christmas party.
Sean, meanwhile, is having to deal with the pressure of his son, Danny (Boyd Holbrook), wanting to cut in on the family business by overseeing a deal involving heroin. Sean wants no part of it, wanting to leave that lifestyle behind. But his son pulls a hothead move and kills the men who supplied him the product as well as money to lure his father into the deal.
This results in a witness in the form of Jimmy’s son, Michael (Joel Kinnaman), a limo driver who sees Danny cap off one of the men. Later when Danny pops up at Michael’s with the intention of killing him, who should pop up but Jimmy to kill Danny just in the nick of time. Jimmy wastes no time calling up Sean to tell him he killed his son, this placing the former friends against one another and the estranged father and son on the run from both Sean’s men and crooked cops.
From this point on, Run All Night propels itself at a breakneck speed, with pulse pounding action bits balanced with moments involving Jimmy and Michael trying to fix their flawed relationship. Michael, who has a wife and two young girls and has succeeded in building a clean life, wants nothing to do with his father, who comes to realize that getting his son out of harm’s way and taking down his former associates will help to bury the sins of the past. The question though is whether or not Jimmy’s fate has already been sealed.
In addition to expertly handling the action sequences, including a dynamic early car chase, director Serra also incorporates a terrific visual style. At key moments, his camera will slow down and in a near three dimensional fashion will move from one area of NYC to another. It’s a superb visual kick that almost gives the movie a graphic novel vibe that’s welcome to this sort of gritty thriller.
Run All Night is a most intense, action packed two hour ride that gets the job done. Again, it adds up to more than what the Taken movies have had to offer. Neeson and the supporting cast turn in top notch work, and director Serra impresses yet again with helming his third straight top quality action thriller.
A terrifically solid Blu-ray offering from Warner. With the exception of the opening and the finale, the entire film takes place at nighttime, and yet the picture quality remains clean, clear and fully detailed throughout. Those aforementioned slow motion camera transitions look most astonishing!
The 7.1 DTS mix is given a great deal to work with here. Needless to say, the intense sound quality never lets up for a second as the action scenes give way to some furious audio, which is balanced nicely with music playback and dialogue delivery as well.
Included are two brief featurettes; “Shoot All Night” and “Liam Neeson: Action All Night”, and several Deleted Scenes.
Liam Neeson continues his superb streak of intense roles with Run All Night. An effective and entertaining action thriller boasted by terrific action, strong performances and really good pacing and directing.