Liam Neeson is a bedraggled ex-assassin with an alcohol problem and an estranged son (Joel Kinnaman). However when his son’s life is put into danger after Liam shoots Ed Harris’ son, they must team up to not die. But all this is irrelevant, we all know the real plot to this film is Liam Neeson runs around kicking butts.
Interesting as Neeson’s cinematic rebirth as an action hero is, I think it’s probably time that he changed tact. Or at least did something slightly different within the same action parameters. Non Stop was a step in the right direction, but this is really just the same as all the others. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s not. But it just isn’t very interesting.
There are some well carried out scenes in Run All Night, in particular a set piece on some train tracks is particularly effective. However this film is more accurately defined in one car chase within the first 40 minutes. It’s decent enough and pretty efficiently carried out, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen done better elsewhere. This can be said for the whole movie.
Liam Neeson is as usual pretty good at the whole gruff man with a past, and performs admirably in his growl-off with Ed Harris (although when Nick Nolte arrives it’s fairly clear that Neeson and Harris are in fact growling novices). Joel Kinnaman is also rather good in his scenes with Neeson depicting their disjointed relationship.
Overall, Run All Night plays out almost as a Liam Neeson action movie blueprint. It’s not as fun as Non Stop, it’s not as iconic as the first Taken. But compared to 2015’s other Liam shaped blessing (Taken 3) Run All Night is a masterpiece.