Tom Hanks shines as a mob hitman out to protect his son from his former employers when the boy witness…wait, Run all Night? Tom Hanks isn’t in this? No Jude Law? Ohhhh…I was confusing Run all Night with the film it rips off, Road to Perdition. Well, this one can’t be too far off the mark, right?
Ha, ha, ha, of course it can! Run all Night is the latest in an assembly line of Liam Neeson action films that are now all so similar, they are becoming indistinguishable from one another. The plot for this one is essentially lifted beat for beat from Road to Perdition, so if you’re looking for a superior film in this vein, check out Sam Mendes’ period piece. If however, you’re looking for a cheap knockoff with decent action set pieces, Run all Night might be your thing.
The plot is basically spelled out in the trailer: Liam Neeson is forced to kill mob boss Ed Harris’ son when he threatens the life of Neeson’s estranged son, Michael (Joel Kinnaman). Michael saw something he wasn’t supposed to and Harris’ son hunts him down, (sound familiar?). So, for some reason, Neeson feels that if he and his son can survive the night, they’re home free, like it’s a video game or something. They are dogged by the cops, both corrupt and honest, as well as a hitman played by Common. Will they make it to morning? Does it really matter?
This film is one long rip off, pilfering elements from movies that worked much better before. Aside from the wholesale thievery of Road to Perdition, there is a scene early in the film that is lifted almost verbatim from The Godfather. That’s pretty ballsy and stupid at the same time. The biggest issue I have with the film, though, is that it is just the latest in a string of similar Liam Neeson action movies. I couldn’t tell them apart if you had a gun to my head and that’s sad, considering Neeson’s pedigree. The action is decent at least, but not worth a trip to the theaters. There are just too many leaps in logic that you have to make to fully buy this whole thing. It’s also never explained—maybe I fell asleep or something—why if Neeson and his son just make it through the night, everything will be okay. Neeson strikes a deal with honest cop Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio), but again, there’s no time limit or anything.
The cast does a serviceable job here, but nothing spectacular. Neeson combines about two or three of his other action roles, which makes sense since this is the third time he’s worked with Director Jaume Collet-Serra. Ed Harris looks real tired as the mob boss. I couldn’t tell if there was something wrong with him or if he just didn’t want to be there. Kinnaman is fine, but he did better work on The Killing. D’Onofrio does a fine job as the cop out to get Neeson, but there was none of the flair that he had on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Only Common plays against type as the almost robotic assassin, Price. He reminded me a lot of Brother Mouzone from The Wire, though Mouzone was far more talkative.
Overall, you can skip Run all Night. It borrows far too liberally from superior films to make it worthwhile and the action scenes are decent, but nothing to write home about. If it’s floating around on cable, check it out I guess, but don’t waste your hard-earned on this.
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Some of it’s good, some of it, not so much. Then again, it’s just another Liam Neeson flick. Nice review.