Liam Neeson does it again. He not only has you care about his character, but the whole dang movie. Even if he is a retired hit man. Even if the plot is similar to Taken 1, 2 or 300. But this time Neeson is protecting his 'son' from some real bad ass duds. They are so bad they take the whole movie and run all night...did I say that? Yes I did, cause this is the plot. Running, car chasing, evading, hijacking, mauling, shooting, stabbing, bang bang and more people are dead. Yet you care. The camera work is a character onto itself. Stop action, flash, rhythmic, fast paced. Colors splash. Downtrodden areas of NY at night have rarely looked this good. And all the while you are caught up in this high octane chase following Neeson, aka big daddy bear, Jimmy Conlon, protecting his innocent cub, played skillfully by Joel Kinnaman, as Mike Conlon.
Gangster Ed Harris, as Shawn MacGuire, is Neeson's good friend until Neeson offs MacGuire's son, acted with sinister intent and a totally bent M.O. by Boyd Holbrook. Now there is trouble galore in the Big Apple. Big time. But always at night. You want to scream, "Hey, I've seen this all before," but you can't 'cause it's too darn good. Neeson as the protective father is so good that you just want to save his life. Forever. However this is an impossibility. Run for your Life, begins with a Neeson in the woods with a very large wound in his side. Then we back flip to some 16 hours earlier.
Jaume Collet-Serra directs with pistol-like momentum. Once the set up is established between Ed Harris and Liam Neeson, the well-oiled, action packed, machine of a thriller begins to fly. Brad Ingelsby has written some fine dialogue, but Run All Night is a visual film. A don't blink film. A no bathroom or popcorn break or you might miss something film. Genesis Rodriguez plays Gabrielle, the wife of Mike Conlon with sensitivity, but, oh, did I miss some bad ass female cops like the Fast and Furious sagas employ. Please more women in films, please?
With all the macho evil, Vincent D'Onofero as Detective Harding, adds a balance. D'Onofero has a genuine, sincere, delivery that makes you believe there may be some good cops out there. And with the powerful performance by professional killer Common who plays Mr. Price you need some light in this bleak histoire.
Enfin a good time was had --though there were moments where the violence was cringe worthy. Catch Run All Night, but not on an empty stomach.
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