Movie Review: Run All Night

Rob Stark is not enough to make me see Cinderella. That is all.

* * *

            Liam Neeson has become harder to defend as a person. On the one hand, he is very talented and known for many iconic roles. On the other, he is so ignorant and misinformed, I find myself at a crossroads between liking or hating him. Following the Charlie Hebdo shooting, Neeson proclaimed it was a clear example of why the US needs more gun control. How a massacre in Europe constitutes legislation in America warrants no argument as to the sheer incompetence of that statement, but moreover it reflects poorly on Neeson.

I have gone on record (http://wp.me/p4Mzvz-2u) that a man who grew up during The Troubles has no right to call firearms of any kind bad. Furthermore, someone not even from here lacks the entitlement to tell us how to live. Here I find my feelings divided. I like Neeson and I like his movies, but when he says something stupid that offends me, I cannot in good conscience hold him in high esteem, even though I know full well he has no experience or understanding of the subject.

I put my feelings aside going into Run All Night (RAN). I have no respect for Neeson as a person, but I still respect his talent. I was hesitant because Taken 3 left such a bad taste in my mouth. My expectations were a tab higher knowing director Jaume Collet-Serra has worked with Neeson on some decent work and Ed Harris was in the main cast. It could not get any worse than Taken 3, right?

Though not the best thing in the world, RAN is certainly better than Taken 3. It has its fair share of problems, but for an action movie, it does its job well.

The story follows Jimmy, an alcoholic deadbeat who worked for Irish mobster Shawn, played by Ed Harris. After a deal goes south involving Jimmy‘s son Michael, played by Joel Kinnaman, Shawn‘s son Danny is murdered and Jimmy is forced back into his son’s life to keep him safe.

RAN is not original by any means. It is your typical Daddy Issues story where a son hates his father before they are forced into a situation where they must reconcile. It is as cookie-cutter as you can get. But is it a bad film?

There was a lot of potential for a true thriller, if only the director was less interested in making an action movie. Many instances throughout were rife with tension that was swiftly undone by unnecessary music and some of the worst editing I have ever seen.

Rather than focus on two characters having a simple conversation, we cut to different camera angles every few seconds, as if there were seven cameras filming that one scene. It was more jarring than shaky-cam because you constantly wonder why the director did not pick two angles and stick with them. That kind of editing works better for action, so why is it used for mundane conversations between characters sitting down?

It is style over substance. The movie is built like a thriller that wants to be an action movie. It uses way too many quick-cuts and these strange CG transitions that could have been cut without consequence. The story was far too simple to be made with such complexity. On top of that, the score plays too often in parts that would have been better in silence. The music tells you how to feel, sucking out any tension that might have been present. There is only one scene without music and it happens at the end.

Common plays a character called Price, whom I believe was mostly edited out of the movie. This is a minor complaint, but as a villain, it would have helped if we knew more about him, other than he kills people.

Neeson was very good in his now signature gruff badass role. Ed Harris did what he could as a cautious, but tough gangster driven to vengeance. I only wish he had more to work with. The dynamic between the two was what you’d expect and also a tad underdeveloped. Beyond that, I think they worked well together. Kinnaman was okay as the estranged son, but you cannot do much with a part like that. It beats ruining RoboCop.

That is the overall problem with Run All Night. It is mediocre, unoriginal, and overdone when compared to films of the same caliber. You will not miss anything if you decide to stay home. I recommend A Walk Among the Tombstones, John Wick, and The Raid 2 as better substitutes, unless you plan on seeing Cinderella.

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