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Film Review: 'Run All Night'

Victor Figueroa |
March 22, 2015 | 9:33 a.m. PDT

Guest Contributor

Stop if this looks familiar (Warner Brothers)
Stop if this looks familiar (Warner Brothers)
You’ve never seen Liam Neeson like this before!

That is, unless you’ve seen "Taken," "Unknown" or "Non-Stop." Other than that Neeson is breaking new ground in his acting career and delving into a new genre of revenge flick. Well, except for his role in "Taken 2," "A Walk Among the Tombstones," and let's not forget "Taken 3." But besides those six previous films, Neeson is killin’ it; providing a fresh take on the aging hitman story, a character no one in Hollywood has ever played — except George Clooney in "The American," Jean Reno in "The Professional," and Jason Statham in "The Mechanic."

READ MORE: Film Review: 'Non-Stop'

Okay so check this out. The film starts with Bryan Mills (Neeson) needing to save his daughter from Albanian mobsters who captured her while she was vacationing in Paris — wait, wrong movie.

Neeson is Jimmy Conlon and it’s his son who needs the saving? Yes, that's right. It's his son Mike (Joel Kinnaman). Mike is a witness to a murder, and before the killer can get to Mike to silence him, Jimmy shoots the guy.

But it just so happens that the killer is the son of a mobster kingpin that Jimmy is chums with. The kingpin wants revenge and travels to Istanbul to kill Neeson’s family and then — wait, wrong movie again.

It’s actually Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) who’s angry with Jimmy for killing his son Danny. But Shawn is a good mobster. He says no to drugs. 

Even though Shawn could have given his son the cash to get out of an Albanian drug deal dilemma (Albanians are the new Russians, I guess), he instead uses the predicament to teach Danny a lesson in taking responsibility for his own actions (Danny killing an Albanian is the murder Mike witnesses). Except for the part where Danny ends up dead, it was a pretty good parenting move by Shawn.

READ MORE: Film Review: 'Tracers'

So for one night Jimmy and Mike run around New York City battling Shawn’s henchmen, especially one particular assassin played by Common.

He can bend bullets around people’s heads thanks to adrenaline — oh, that’s Common in "Wanted." He’s actually more like a hired hitman that’s part of a corrupt LAPD police force, scheming to frame Keenu Reeves and — ugh sorry, that’s "Street Kings." But this time Common is a cool-handed killer who’s one of several assassins trying to take out a rich magician at the top of a hotel casino in Vegas and — damn it, that’s "Smokin Aces."

According to Common’s IMDB page his name is Price in the movie. That sounds right. And judging by his high-tech assassin hardware, Price looks like a top-dollar killer. And fortunately for Shawn he’s willing to kill Jimmy pro bono.

READ MORE: Film Review: 'Insurgent'

Throughout the movie Neeson engages in some sweet hand-to-hand combat and it’s just like, "Whoa. How’s this old guy doing this? Bad ass."

And later, there’s a surprise appearance by Nick Nolte, who doesn’t add much to the storyline, but it's Nick Nolte!

In the end, I guarantee this film is unlike anything you’ve seen in Hollywood, or else I’m a person with hair, ears, arms and feet. Sure the movie could have simplified its plot. And the father-son dynamic was overdone; I mean I don’t need to know every single detail. Plus more sounds of thunder throughout, could have brought together the piece real nicely. But overall this was a great first attempt (excluding "Unknown" and "Non-stop") between director Jaume Collet-Serra and Neeson, in creating something original. If you want to see Neeson out of his element, go see this film.

Oh and by the way, the movie is called "Run All Night."

Reach Contributor Victor Figueroa here, Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter

Also check out Victor Figueroa's other work vicfig.com



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