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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Run All Night movie review: bloody bromance breakup

Run All Night yellow light

Too long and too same-old, and even Liam Neeson’s effortless tough-guy charm can only carry this familiar-feeling film so far.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Yup. We get it. Liam Neeson is one of the all-time great Hollywood tough guys. I’m not even being sarcastic. In Run All Night, his Jimmy Conlon is an obnoxious alcoholic bum, a former hitman for the Irish mob in New York who’s haunted by all the people he killed. He’s hated by his adult son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman: RoboCop, Easy Money: Hard to Kill), who wants nothing to do with his father, and with good reason: Jimmy Conlon is not a nice man. At all. And yet somehow, Neeson (Taken 3, A Walk Among the Tombstones) suckers us into sympathizing with him as he and Mike run around the city over the course of one night trying to fix a situation with Jimmy’s old boss and best friend, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris: Snowpiercer, Gravity). They’ve had the mother of all violent falling-outs, and now Mike is targeted for death, even though he has never been in his father’s line of work and appears to be a genuinely decent and honest guy.

The effortless ease with which Neeson makes us root for him is almost — but not quite — enough to make us see past the fact that how Mike ends up a target is the result of one of the more ridiculous coincidences I’ve ever seen a movie attempt. And there’s a ton of unironic and unintended silliness at just about every step of the way, from the clichéd crazy Albanian heroin dealers, to Maguire’s straight-faced claim about being a “legitimate businessman,” to the Terminator-like unstoppable assassin (Common: Selma, Now You See Me) Maguire eventually sends after the Conlon boys. (Common is pretty awesome, though. He needs to headline an action movie soon.) Screenwriter Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furnace) does know how to invent some fresh action, and director Jaume Collet-Serra does know how to direct it in a dynamic way: a cop car on the receiving end of a chase is novel, and one sequence set in an enormous public-housing apartment building is tense and exciting. But those bits are few and far between.

There’s almost nothing of substance here that we haven’t seen done before, and better. And with less drag: is it really a good idea that we should feel as if this movie is running literally all night? If this third reteaming of Neeson with Collet-Serra — after the equally silly but more entertaining Non-Stop and the just plain silly Unknown — proves anything, it’s that they both need to move on to something new.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Run All Night for its representation of girls and women.


yellow light 2.5 stars

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Run All Night (2015)
US/Can release: Mar 13 2015
UK/Ire release: Mar 13 2015

MPAA: rated R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
BBFC: rated 15 (strong violence, strong language, drug use)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • David

    This would be an awesome commercial if it wasn’t for a game that represents the worst of human greed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC2qk2X3fKA

    Fuck Clash of Clans! Seriously, fuck that game so hard!

  • I’m tempted to delete this comment as off topic. Would you like to add some commentary that makes it on topic?

  • David

    Well, the commercial is based around his tough guy persona which seems to be what he’s basing his entire movie career around. While pointing that out I just wanted to make sure that everybody knew how terrible the product advertised was.

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