The modern moviegoer may have a difficult time remembering this, but once upon a time, Liam Neeson was a dramatic actor. Yet, somehow, he has turned into the go-to action star for any action movie that fancies itself to be relatively deep; i.e., not Transformers. It all kinda started with Liam Neeson's turn as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars, Episode I, in which he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing movie. But Liam Neeson's transformation into action star really took off after the success of Taken.
Liam Neeson stars as an semi-retired man who you do not want to cross. Though choosing to leave behind a violent and shady past, his adult child is put into extreme danger, and he has to start killing people again in order to protect his family.
That paragraph is an apt description not only of Taken, but also of Run All Night. But there are distinct differences this time. Now it is his son who is in trouble. He is not a teenager, but a full-grown man with his own family, all of whom are in danger because he witnesses a gangland execution while at work. Liam Neeson's Jimmy Conlon has no workable relationship with his son because Jimmy is no Bryan Mills. Instead of being a CIA operative protecting America, Jimmy Conlon is a retired mofia hitman. And to separate himself further from his Taken alter ego, Jimmy is a full-blown alcoholic. But when his son witnesses the murder, Jimmy must leap into action to prevent every single one of his comrades and friends from murdering his son.
Here's the skinny: The movie is not bad. Catch it early Saturday at matinee prices. Otherwise, catch it on DVD. Do not expect Run All Night to be a great movie, for it is not. Despite obvious attempts to distance itself from Taken, the entire film feels like Taken 4. If you do not enjoy Taken or mafia movies, you will not enjoy this movie. Both Common and Ed Harris deliver pretty great performances as the film's villains, and Vincent D'Onofrio's performance as a world-weary cop gives me hope that his turn as Kingpin in Daredevil will be pretty epic.
Final Grade: B -