Twitter Plot Summary: Set over the course of one night, Liam Neeson must stop his son being killed by mob boss Ed Harris.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes, Run All Night is once again a case of Liam Neeson exploiting his geriaction chops and milking the Taken template for all it’s worth. He’s Jimmy Conlon, a former (or perhaps current) hitman for former (or perhaps current) mob boss Shawn (Ed Harris), who has to protect his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman). You see, Mike has witnessed Ed Harris’ son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) shooting some Albanians (killed like “so many nothings”, to borrow a phrase from the Taken series) and Conlon has to step in and kill Danny before his own son is capped. It’s far less complicated than that summary may imply, never fear. This isn’t some multilayered story, even if at times it would like to be.
By now it probably goes without saying that there is an obligatory telephone conversation between Liam Neeson and the guy his character is butting heads with, and the usual array of action sequences are there to keep the punters happy. All of this takes place while doing its best to avoid showing Neeson running from A to B – he works best in films where his character isn’t required to escape anywhere on foot at speed. It could have done with taking a page out of A Walk Among The Tombstone‘s book in more than one respect.
Unlike that film, however, the attempts at in depth characterisation fall flat in Run All Night because, ironically, despite their best intentions there isn’t enough effort put into developing the character relationships. There is a decent connection between Ed Harris and Neeson as their history together is touched on, the physical and mental effects their years of killing and double crossing have had on them, but this gets summarily dropped once they are on opposing sides and the action kicks in. The same again can be said for the relationship between Conlon and Michael. The reasons for Conlon stepping away from the family are quite clear and well played, as is his constant insistence that his son never fire a weapon at someone lest he end up just like his father. Still, at least it’s better than the ham-fisted father/son relationship in A Good Day To Die Hard.
We also get a brief appearance from Nick Nolte as Conlon’s grizzled brother, and Common as contract killer Price. Of slightly greater importance to the film is Vincent D’Onofrio as the long serving cop who is determined to bring Conlon to justice for his involvement in a number of historic killings. There are missteps in how Michael’s relationship with his family is handled, namely that his wife and children are almost side notes to the story despite being the focal point for him staying out of the hands of the police.
It’s certainly much less fun than Neeson and Collet’s last collaboration in Non-Stop, and would have perhaps been a better viewing through a direct to DVD home release rather than being pushed out to cinemas. There are at least some good ideas to hand, decent if unspectacular action sequences, and reliable performances from all involved.