Writer: Brad Ingelsby
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Common, Vincent D’Onofrio
Running time: 115mins
The lowdown: Liam Neeson reteams with Unknown and Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra for their best outing to date. Neeson is Jimmy Conlon, a one-time hitman for Ed Harris’ mob boss, Shawn Maguire. When Maguire’s reckless son lands himself and Conlon’s estranged son into hot water, the mob boss declares war on both Conlon Sr and Jr. Efficient, undemanding entertainment, you don’t have to run to see it, but it’s further proof Neeson’s late in the day action man phase has legs.
The full verdict: Though Run All Night describes what happens in Liam’s latest, the film is pitched as much in A Walk Among The Tombstones territory as in the action dafts of Non-Stop.
For 60 minutes the tone is sombre and moody, owing a debt to the shadows and muted colour palette of the great gangster movies of yesteryear. Evergreen themes of fathers and sons and generational betrayal are allowed room to breathe, and there is a thrill in watching seasoned pros Neeson and Harris working efficiently written pulp material as if it’s Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.
Joel Kinnaman, given a better shot here than the thankless RoboCop remake, brings the right amount of intensity as Conlon’s son, Michael. Boyd Holbrook, a fellow alumnus of A Walk Among The Tombstones, devours his part as Harris’ bad seed son Danny, bringing about events that will turn his mobster pa against the Conlon boys.
Director Collet-Serra demonstrates the same flair for slow burn tension as in his horror gem Orphan, shifting into Unknown and Non-Stop gear when the Conlons have to battle through a particularly rotten Big Apple, with corrupt cops and gangster goons at every exit.
Scriptwriter Brad Ingelsby injected real character into impressive thriller Out of the Furnace, and manages the same with this formula fare.
Borrowing heavily from Road To Perdition (itself inspired by the Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub series), audiences will likely be running alongside the story as it hits all the beats of a troubled father and son bonding through adversity.
Common’s unstoppable hitman is even a carbon copy of Jude Law’s gunman in Perdition, and both films hurtle toward climaxes set against watery backdrops.
But, cast and crew have fun with action movie staples – the car chase, the subway chase, the bathroom brawl, storming the villain’s lair – and the Conlons’ fight out of a high rise tenement seems to be Ingelsby testing ideas for his script on the upcoming Raid remake.
Not in the same league as A Walk Among The Tombstones, but still pacy, polished and likely to run into an appreciative popcorn crowd on a Saturday night.