As my three-movie marathon at the cinema came to a close, I thought I had left the best to last. A Walk Among The Tombstones was my final and most anticipated film out of the choices, and had been for a few weeks. However, after nodding off quite frequently somewhere in the middle, I left the theatre down heartened and aghast that a gun swinging, cop adventure with Mr Neeson left me as cold as the bodies in the ground. It's 1991, and off duty NYPD officer Matthew Scudder (Neeson) is caught in the middle of an armed robbery, interrupting his 'off duty' drinks at a local bar. Back in the present day, Scudder is still haunted by his clumsy attempt to chase down the robbers resulting in a stray bullet being caught by an innocent child. Blaming his alcoholism, Scudder-now practising sobriety-has left the force retaining the role of a private investigator, whose reputation has caught the eye of distraught drug dealer, Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens), whose wife has recently been abducted. Leaning towards his reprisal and a healthy pay, Scudder sets out on his hunt for the kidnappers with the help of local homeless boy and aspiring detective, T.J (Brian 'Astro' Bradley). The investigation hastens as the knowledge of another kidnapping strikes up an old nerve for Scudder, making the window of opportunity for the enforcers escape impassable.
If you're looking to sit on the edge of your seat, nails bitten to the rim from heart-pumping chases and ass kicking punch lines, rent a copy of Taken and turn your cinema ticket into a paper airplane. The monotonous dialogue and steady plodding from one clue to the next even has you believing that Neeson isn't interested about finding chopped up bodies either. Whether it was disinterest or his age, Liam Neeson's performance was far from that of Brian Mills, leaving the 'walking pace' crime thriller out of reach from action and compelling mystery, maybe having settled better for a film noir if it conveyed better scripting to carry pungent material. With expectations fallen flat in the theatre, I'm hoping that Lawrence Block's novel of the same name, will project the imperative drama that was expected of the visual adaptation, and cast a clearer view of what tone and style Block had in mind, that director and writer Scott Frank seemed to lose sight of. However, despite my fancy not being tickled, AWATT debuted at number two at the box office on its opening weekend earning $13.1 million behind The Maze Runner ($32.5 million), and an average positive rating of 66% from critics. For now I will sit on my opinion and eagerly await the third instalment of the Taken series in hopes that Olivier Megaton has been showered in revelatory sprinkles or kicked up the arse by Lucy director Luc Besson, who he has come back to work with him on the third chapter. This might be the push needed to sync the quality of the beginning with the end, and raise Pierre Morel's head out his hand.
A Walk Among The Tombstones is in cinema's now. Taken 3 is due for release January 9th, 2015