Sunday, January 24, 2016

Run All Night

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Since he ran all night, I guess he ran so far away...boy, I really pulled that Flock of Seagulls reference outta my ass, didn't I?

Run All Night – 3 out 5

Liam Neeson definitely has some star power behind him and it’s a power that completely influences some of the films I will see.  For example, I never would have paid to see Battleship in the theater if it wasn’t for him being in the film.  However, as badass as the guy is, his ability to convincingly be someone who has that special set of skills that involve bustin’ suckas in the face doesn’t always translate to the entire production of the film being good, decent or even watchable.  He’s been in some stinkers (for example, Battleship) but is Run All Night as awesome as Taken or is it as bad as the sequels to Taken?

I'd probably piss myself if Neeson gave me that look because it's clear an ass-kicking
is coming.

Jimmy “The Gravedigger” Conlon (Neeson) might sound like a name of a professional wrestler but he’s a former mob enforcer who has fallen on hard times and spends more time drinking than mob enforcing.  His life caused a schism between himself and his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman).  One night, Jimmy’s former boss Shawn Maquire (Ed Harris) rejects a deal his son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) set up and it results in Danny killing some men and Mike accidentally becoming a witness.  Jimmy comes to his son’s aid and kills Danny.  Shawn, rightfully upset, tells Jimmy that since the former enforcer killed his son, he will see Jimmy’s boy meet the same fate.  Now Jimmy must do everything he can to protect his son.

He can protect his son because he has a certain set of...guns to help kill people with.
What did you think I was going to say?

The trailer to this one looked pretty cool and seemed like it would have some killer, gritty action sequences.  However, as much as I like Liam Neeson, a lot of his movies aren’t as good as he is as an actor so I’m reluctant to shell out the cash to see it in the theaters.  This one definitely looked cool but it also, most certainly, was going to be a film I would wait to see when it hits the home market.  Overall, I’m glad I waited because it definitely wasn’t worth the cash for a theater visit BUT it’s not as bad as some of his other recent films have been.

*Pew Pew*

Common was so badass it was a crime
he wasn't in the film more.
My feeling that the film would have some killer action was definitely a dead-on prediction because the film does not disappoint in this department.  There’s a great car chase when Jimmy is trying to rescue his son from the cops (because, not surprisingly, the cops are dirty and in the pocket of Maquire), there’s a fantastic fight sequence between Jimmy and the hitman played by Common in a burning building and the final shootout during the last moments of the film makes sure the adrenaline rush doesn’t end before the credits hit.  This is really the best part of the film.

Ed Harris' performance is pretty intimidating.  Just this pic is making me ready to
surrender and give him whatever he wants so he won't hurt me.

Gun Cam!
Additionally, there’s some really great performances in it.  Liam Neeson’s character starts out a little silly as he’s sheepish and a vile drunk who says inappropriate things to women.  While these character elements work for the character, Neeson just couldn’t pull them off convincingly.  However, once his character gets into form as he returns to being a badass enforcer extraordinaire, this slippery start to the performance is easily overlooked.  Furthermore, Ed Harris is predictably amazing in his role as the antagonist and he provides an excellent antithesis to Liam Neeson and Joel Kinnaman is giving, quite possibly, the best performance I’ve ever seen him in.  Prior to this film, I haven’t been too impressed with his work.

The crazy eyes that bothered me in RoboCop are definitely under control now.

Let's be real:  Nolte probably got the role because he was
living on the set under a pile of rags.
Ultimately, however, Run All Night does have some flaws that stop it from being better than just an average feature.  For example, Nick Nolte is in the film and acts as a walking plot device in order to create more tension between father and son.  In theory, this isn’t a bad thing but the character just sorta appears in the story and is never seen from again, so he feels like his whole existence was just too lazily create drama.  Additionally, the actual moment when the antagonist is stopped by Jimmy feels a bit hollow and not as important as it should be.  Finally, Common plays a really cool hitman character that is hired to come in and take out Mike and there was endless potential to this character but he feels terribly underutilized.  While his moments are cool and provide some killer action sequences, his potential promised so much more and not enough was done with him.  This complaint also applies to the cop character played by Vincent D’Onofrio as this character has a past with Jimmy “The Gravedigger” Conlon but he just sorta comes and goes within the story.

Even though his character was underutilized, anytime D'Onofrio is in a movie is
a win in my book because that dude is talented!

Run All Night is a serviceable but not too memorable action film.  The cast is great and the action is definitely satisfying but the story doesn’t feel that unique and it’s is only hampered by some lazy moments in the plot.  It is definitely one of the better films that Neeson has starred in during the last few years but the film does fall short of the potential it has.

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