Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Movie Review #231: "Run All Night" (2015)

Movie"Run All Night"
Ticket Price: $7.00
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes
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Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a former hit man who used to work for a crime boss named Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). Jimmy's son Michael (Joel Kinnaman) works as a limo driver and does volunteer work at a local boxing gym helping underprivileged kids. He hasn't spoken to his father in years and wants nothing to do with him. That night, Michael is unknowingly hired to drive a group of Albanian gangsters around who have some business with Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), the son of his father's old boss, Shawn. When things go south, Michael witnesses Danny murder the other gangsters, making him a target. When Danny shows up at Michael's house ready to kill him, he doesn't know Jimmy got there first and shoots Danny in the neck before he can kill Michael. When Jimmy informs Shawn of what happened, Shawn uses all his power, including his ties in the police force, to try and take revenge on Jimmy and Michael for killing his son. 

Liam Neeson continues his run as a kick ass old guy in "Run All Night," and here, he acts alongside Ed Harris, whose voice at this stage in his life sounds like he needs a shotgun and a rocker so he can tell people to get the hell off his lawn. Liam Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, a former hit man and current alcoholic who is haunted by the actions of his past while he worked for Shawn. He has trouble sleeping sometimes because whenever he closes his eyes, all he sees are the faces of the people he's killed. His son Michael, played by Joel Kinnaman, who has permanent bitch-face and constantly looks pissed off and mad at the world, just wants to live a normal life and doesn't speak to his father, and rightfully so. We mean, who would want to expose their kids to someone who killed people for a living? Michael winds up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if it wasn't for his estranged hit man father, he would have been as dead as the guys he witnessed being murdered. Danny Macguire, played by Boyd Holbrook, is exactly how you'd imagine a crime boss' son to be in real life. He's an arrogant asshole coke head who is disrespectful and takes things for granted because he has never had to work for anything. Danny has also never had to pay for his actions, until he pays the ultimate price: with his life. Shawn knows his son is a worthless asshole and also knows that Michael is a good kid, but in his world, it doesn't matter who is inherently good and who is inherently bad. As a mob boss, it's an eye for an eye and payback is a matter of respect and principle since he has been betrayed. Vincent D'Onofrio, one of my sentimental favs, plays an angry, grizzled cop named Hardling, a man who knows Jimmy's sins and knows that he is a liar, but doesn't have enough proof to put him away for good. Hardling has been carrying the weight of guilt and the sorrow for the families of Jimmy and Shawn's fallen victims on his shoulders for far too long, and it seems that, since Michael and Jimmy are now on the run, he is finally going to get his chance to make it long as he puts enough sugar in his coffee to get through the night. Common, who plays Andrew Price in a very small role, is another hit man hired by Shawn and has been tasked with killing Jimmy and Michael for double his regular pay. Running around with Google Glass-style night vision goggles and a gun with a massive laser sight, Andrew must get to Jimmy and Michael before the cops do, that is, if Jimmy doesn't get to him first. Let's be real, though, between their ages and their weight, Neeson, Harris and D'Onofrio could never "Run All Night," a title which served as a number of jokes between BigJ and I throughout the film.

Leading up to seeing this movie, we had heard a barrage of negativity surrounding it, so we went in with pretty low expectations. I think it's safe to say, anyone who solely listens to what critics have to say about any given film, even us, your most royal and excellent and flawless critics, have it backwards. BigJ and I have said many a time on this here review site what matters to us is entertainment first. A movie could be critically acclaimed and brilliantly executed, but if it's boring as hell and has no redeeming entertainment value whatsoever, chances are, not all the positive reviews in the world could change our minds. Sure, you can pick this specific movie apart for this and that, but at the end of the day, hell yeah, it was entertaining! It's not the best movie out there, and it's not even Liam Neeson's best old-aged bad-guy movie, but it's worth a watch, at least on DVD, if you're even moderately interested. This film actually winds up being a rather respectable thriller with some good intense moments. Though this is an another old guy action flick, don't go in expecting "Taken" as this is much more gritty, and Jimmy is not quite the superhuman that Bryan Mills was. He is a much more realistic character and is just a tough guy who was and is good at his job, but may have to take as much punishment as he dishes out. Neeson, who has always had an automatic swagger about him anyways, is now starting to look his age, so his role in "Run All Night" works much better than it did towards the end of the "Taken" franchise. Neeson's Jimmy does a lot of atoning for his sins in this film, and we couldn't help but wonder if he took this role simply because of the amount of atonement it involved, like maybe, in some small way, he was atoning for the atrocity that was "Taken 3." There are some distracting moments here and there, such as the weird, uber-fast camera work between pivotal scenes and some frenetic pacing that we did not particularly care for, but overall, if you go into this movie expecting a thrilling and action packed popcorn movie, chances are, you won't be disappointed.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 59%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Mr. Peabody & Sherman"

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