Run All Night
New film Run All Night presents its two main protagonists Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) and Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) as long-time best friends who grew up in the mob underworld of New York. Shawn has now built his own empire and employs Jimmy in his ranks as a hitman. They both have grown-up sons of about the same age – Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnaman) and Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook) – who, having also been brought up in the same environment, drift apart to different life paths as adults. Mike severs all ties with his notorious father and moves away to lead a regular life as a working family man, while Danny sticks around and ends up a drug addicted screw-up simply hanging on his father’s coattails.
One evening, Mike, now a limo driver, takes two clients to an appointment in his old neighbourhood. Unknown to him, they happen to be on a drug deal with Danny. The deal goes horribly wrong, and somehow innocent Mike finds himself Danny’s target, only seconds from being shot when his estranged father steps in and shoots his bosses’ boy to save his own son’s life.
The above might sound like too deep a foray into the synopsis for a critical review, but this is also what happens to be the film’s main downfall: its premise. Everything is done to set up an epic gangster film, and this is what makes it that bit more disappointing when the final product turns out to be but a run-of-the-mill action thriller. All the usual underworld codes are thrown haphazardly into the story; the family and business motto, radical loyalties, corrupt police, and even a restaurant scene with intense dialogue between the two protagonists reminiscent of Pacino and De Niro’s in Heat. Then it seems the producers realised they lacked the script and cast to pull off a classic mob film and decided to hedge their bets anyway by placing it somewhere in between.
Harris is passable as a mob boss, but Neeson finds himself the contrived hero from Taken again, with nothing but schemed action sequences and the occasional self-pitying whimper that does little to add depth to his character. The same goes for the other supporting cast; the script doesn’t give them a lot to work with, but you suspect that most of them would have nonetheless been out of depth in the kind of gangster story that this film is trying to be.
Run All Night would have been a decent thriller were it not for the lingering taste it leaves of a back-up meal served when the oven blows up and the chef can’t deliver on the bigger promise. It has pace and some smart action that may keep you engaged for most of the two hours of its running time, even if only to forget it as you step out of the cinema.
Run All Night is released nationwide on 13th March 2015.
Watch the trailer for Run All Night here: