Thursday, March 26, 2015

[Review] Run All Night

The incredibly generic title of Run All Night is so forgettable that it might slip your mind as you're asking the cashier for your movie ticket. But here is some more patented Neesian fare, and thankfully, it's a hell of a lot better than this year's Taken 3. It's by no means a flawless masterpiece, but this fast-motion crime thriller sets out to do exactly what it wants--and that is entertain you for a couple of hours with a potent amount of crisis driven action and bullet-flying escapades.

Deep in the sprawling streets of NYC, we get introduced to a disheveled and heavily alcoholic Neeson character. We learn that he used to work for a "businessman" named Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris, looking very old nowadays), and the two have shady, murderous pasts. By a horrible coincidence, their respective sons are involved in some violent mishaps, and the two fathers are forced to act. It's best to keep most of the premise details to a minimum, because this is a situation where it's better to just see the chain of events unfold and let them ride.

At the beginning of the story, it seems as though Neeson might be taking a backseat this time around, but that definitely isn't the case, as he gets pulled back in quickly and becomes the main driving force. His character actually falls significantly further on the *bad person* side here, rather than the *weary protagonist we can root for* side, but his current mission involves keeping his son on the straight and narrow, which essentially means he doesn't want his son to become him. So in turn, we still end up rooting for Neeson (to a certain extent).

Aside from Neeson's presence, and the other solid supporting performers (especially Boyd Holbrook, who has mastered the scummy criminal type), the reason why Run All Night works well is because almost every single scene has a large amount of engaging tension that can erupt at any minute. The plot does get a tad convoluted, and things always brush close to ridiculousness, but you wouldn't really expect it not to. The active camera and quick cut editing attempts to add some flare, but it becomes more distracting than anything. And the climax(es) aren't necessarily anything that hasn't been seen before. Despite these given flaws, it's rarely less than enthralling.

The film notably takes place during Christmas time (at one point a drunken Neeson is actually wearing a Santa suit), and I get the feeling that this film could've played even better if it was released in December and billed as a crazy holiday alternative. With that said, watching Liam Neeson shoot up a bar while The Pogues' "Fairytale in New York" plays is fun at any time of the year.


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