Typecasting can (and usually does) spell the kiss of death for an actor's career. But not Liam Neeson's. His mainstream success has taken off in recent years as he has become the go-to man for an action-laden script. Sadly, Liam recently promised he will be giving up guns in the next couple of years. But until then, Liam leaves behind a string of mostly digestible, popcorn-munchin' fun. His latest, Run All Night, blends the mindless entertainment value of Taken with the dark, gritty tone of his recent A Walk Among the Tombstones. The result is, like many Action Neeson flicks, entertaining enough to warrant a once-thru.
What stands out about Run All Night is its interesting character work. Neeson does a wonderful job as Jimmy Conlon. Jimmy's done deplorable things as a hit-man working for his mobster best friend, Shawn, portrayed by the great Ed Harris, who now spends his life trying to drink away his demons.
Jimmy bloodies his hands yet again (speaking both metaphorically and literally here) by offing Danny in order to protect Mike. This sets in motion a tragic series of events that dismantles the life-long, brotherly bond between Jimmy and Shawn. As the body count piles up, so does the burden on their once flourishing friendship. It's a beautiful disaster to behold and both Neeson and Harris play it pitch perfect.
As far as taking away anything from this film, Jimmy and Shawn's crumbling friendship is it. The rest of the film plays out as you would expect, with little to no deviation from the classic noir, anti-hero narrative, with the talented Vincent D'Onofrio (Law & Order: C.I.) getting a few lines as the last wholesome cop in New York who holds a moral grudge against Jimmy because of the people he's killed. Disappointingly, and predictably, that subplot never leads anywhere satisfying and probably could have been dropped.
As for the action, it's well-paced throughout and never feels hyper-extended, with the exception of the one car chase towards the beginning. There's enough here that you won't get bored.
Content. That's how I felt as the credits rolled and the lights went up. I didn't feel cheated nor was I aching for more. Like most of Liam Neeson's recent pow-bang endeavors, you get what you pay for.