Run All Night Review

Run All Night

For the last time, if I order the sharing platter are you gonna go halves?

All of Jaume Collet-Serra’s seven films have an element of the absurd, or a little pottiness about them; from House of Wax, to Orphan via his other team ups with Liam Neeson in Unknown and Non-Stop.

His newest Neeson vehicle, Run All Night, is no exception.

If Non-Stop was altercations on a plane, and Unknown was eluding assassins in the city, Run All Night is altercations on a train and eluding assassins in the city, a veritable mash-up of our favourite action plots.

With a film like this, you know going in what you’re paying for.

Liam Neeson is Jimmy Conlon, an Irish Brooklyn based mobster and prolific hit-man regretting his murderous past in his poverty and solitude stricken twilight years.

When Jimmy’s estranged son Mike gets mixed up with Danny, the son of Jimmy’s old buddy-turned-straight-man Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), Jimmy shoots Danny dead to save his own son.

With the eye for an eye mentality favoured by Greek tragedies, Shawn rejects Jimmy’s pleas for his son’s life, whereupon Jimmy pledges to spend the night protecting Mike from the people sent by Shawn to kill him, because in the movies men demonstrate how much they care for each other by killing other men.

They can’t just, you know, make a patchwork quilt or a scrapbook.

New York city at night drips with blacks, greens and yellows and features great use of wild zooming sweeps across the city to transport the audience from one scene’s location to the next.

By moving aerially across the geography of the city, swooping across aerial panoramas before plunging down into a moving train to zoom in on the sorrowful face of Jimmy or the leering Machiavelli pursuing him and Mike, Collet-Serra and cinematographer Martin Ruhe make the film’s feel and aesthetics suitably gritty and brawny; this is a man’s city.

The script has little wow factor, the story being full of tropes and stock characters, but it is nothing if not direct; the dialogue may be loaded and dripping with exposition, but the up side of this is that events move very quickly and the film feels fast paced.

You’re never waiting for something to happen; something is always already happening.

When Run All Night cruises near the ridiculous, it becomes endearingly amusing. Word gets around that Jimmy is searching for someone in an apartment block, so the NYPD send in a helicopter to catch this one man in a block of flats.

Sure.

And there is a slightly jarring switch to video-game perspective and a baddie with gadgets during a hot pursuit, but you get the feeling the filmmakers were simply exploring the cinematic options open to them.

And why the hell not?

Like films where sexed up teens head off into the woods despite the warnings of the slack-jawed locals, you know what’s going to happen from the off with Run All Night.

This is an action film, with Liam Neeson, and it does exactly what it says on the tin – not everyone is going to be taken with it, but so what?

Just kick back and run with it, all night long.

E J Robinson

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March 2015
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