Review: RUN ALL NIGHT (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Review: RUN ALL NIGHT (2015)

RUN ALL NIGHT offers nothing new in the genre, but the fine cast -- led by Liam Neeson and Ed Harris -- as well as some of the tense moments make the movie worthwhile.

From playing an amnesiac doctor on the run in 2011's UNKNOWN to an alcoholic air marshal trying to track down a mysterious terrorist on the plane in 2014's NON-STOP, the collaboration between Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra proves to be successful so far in terms of box-office results. While UNKNOWN and NON-STOP were more like Hitchcockian thrillers, their third and latest collaboration in RUN ALL NIGHT sees Jaume Collet-Serra explores the gritty crime-thriller territory for the first time ever.


Liam Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, a disgraced alcoholic who used to be a fearsome enforcer working for his New York mob boss, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). His life hits rock bottom that even his son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman) doesn't want him anywhere near him, his wife (Genesis Rodriguez) or his two young daughters (Giulia Cicciari and Carrington Meyer).

Meanwhile, Shawn's son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) wants to prove his worth to his old man by introducing him some Albanian drug dealers for big business. Unfortunately, Shawn doesn't want to get involved in the drug business anymore since he's already going legit.

Things get messy when Mike, who works as a chauffeur, witnesses Danny kills the Albanian drug dealers one night. Mike manages to escape, but Danny eventually tracks him down to his house and tries to kill him. Jimmy was there at that time, and forced to kill Danny to save Mike. Nevertheless, the chase begins as Shawn deploys all his men to kill both Jimmy and Mike at all cost.


From the exhilarating car chase through the busy streets of Queens to the climactic shootout in the foggy forest, Jaume Collet-Serra knows his action well. His direction, in the meantime, brings a satisfying level of intensity and emotional punch to the movie, while adding a touch of grit to its New York-set crime thriller.

But of all, it was the cast that elevates this otherwise forgettable movie. Liam Neeson brings a world-weary persona to his role effectively as a disgraced alcoholic-turned-cold-blooded killer again under forced circumstances in order to protect his son. Ed Harris is equally impressive as the vengeful mob boss, and kudos for Jaume Collet-Serra for bringing these two excellent veteran actors together. Although they are not as memorable as, say, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in HEAT (1995), it's nice to see the way they interact with each other. For instance, earlier in the movie, there is a touching moment on how they talk about their glory past working in the mafia together.

While Neeson and Harris steal most of the show with their engaging performances, Joel Kinnaman is no slouch either as he manages to hold his own as Jimmy's estranged son. Rounding up the cast is strong supports from Vincent D'Onofrio as the honest cop, Detective Harding; Common as Shawn's hired killer, Andrew Price; Genesis Rodriguez as Mike's pregnant wife, Gabriela; Boyd Holbrook as Shawn's son, Danny; and finally Bruce McGill as Shawn's No.2, Pat Mullen.


The verbal confrontation between Jimmy and Shawn at the Irish pub is particularly a standout here. It is also a particular scene that brings the best of Liam Neeson and Ed Harris' acting moments.

Although the action scenes are thrillingly staged, it's a pity that Jaume Collet-Serra favours a lot of tight close-ups and shaky cameraworks throughout the movie. On the other hand, cinematographer Martin Ruhe's penchant to zoom in and out from one scene to another scene through overhead shots looks very distracting. Frankly, such stylish approach doesn't fit well with the movie's overall gritty and old-school tone. Some of the subplots -- such as the one involved the truth between Jimmy and Mike's cousin -- could have been trimmed shorter or omitted altogether to help tighten the pace instead.


RUN ALL NIGHT is hardly a genre classic, but remains satisfying enough for what it is. Best of all, this movie is far better than the previous Liam Neeson's action outing, which is none other than the hugely disappointing TAKEN 3.

This review is written courtesy from Warner Bros Malaysia press screening *  

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