It’s only a matter of time before somebody parodies these Liam Neeson thrillers such is the similarity between them (and please don’t let it be the Epic Movie guys) but Run All Night is slightly better than recent efforts.
Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) is a former hitman for Irish gangster Shawn Maguire (Harris) but, haunted by all the lives he took during his strong-arm days, spends his nights drinking himself into a stupor. Because of this shady past, straight son Mike (Robocop’s Kinnaman) has banned Jimmy from seeing his young family but he needs Bad Dad when he witnesses Maguire’s wildcard son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) gunning down two Albanian gangsters. Danny hunts Mike down lest he squeal and is shot by Jimmy, which brings the full might of Maguire’s empire down on him and his estranged family…
In his third collaboration with Neeson, director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non-Stop) once again defies the odds by bringing in another solid action thriller. Those thrillers shamelessly capitalised on Neeson’s late emergence as an action hero but Unknown and Non- Stop were entertaining in their own right. Ditto Run All Night, and that’s mainly down to a meaty, well thought out set up that takes its time establishing backstories and relationships. And the performances. Neeson is dependable again and Harris’ turn as the heartbroken gangster boss elevates his one-dimensional character. Sadly, there’s little room for the Vincent D’Onofrio to work his underrated magic as the one decent cop in a corrupt city.
Run All Night is guilty of reverting to repetition halfway in (action scene – intimate dad and son scene – action scene) and offers up a completely misjudged action sequence as a finale, but there are ingredients here that set it aside from the also-rans. There’s an attempt at a deliberation over the consequence of shooting someone: Brad Ingelsby’s script is at pains to say that killing someone is a life-changing experience and throughout Neeson is there to prevent Mike from picking up a gun, stopping his son from starting down the road that has ruined him. It’s not deep but it turns Run All Night into something a little deeper than just another Liam Neeson shoot-em-‘up.