Run All Night (2015)
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
“I’ve done terrible things in my life. Things for which I can never be forgiven.” This is how Liam Neeson begins his latest, “Run All Night.” Was he talking about his character’s nefarious hitman past? Or was this Neeson himself, acknowledging the fact that he hasn’t made a unique movie in years? Most of his starring roles since 2008’s “Taken” have been some recycled version of his old-man-fighting-for-something schtick. He’s had three of them release in the past six months alone. I think it’s time he gives it a break. Maybe my tone would be different if he took a project with worthwhile costars. “Run All Night” (or, as it could also be known, “Runtime: All Night”) puts Neeson beside an emotionless Joel Kinnaman (only a smidgen better than he was in “RoboCop”), Ed Harris, who gives us his phoniest gangster snarl, and Common, who has only a couple lines and could have just as easily been replaced by anyone else who doesn’t look convincing holding a gun. Genesis Rodriguez has only an insignificant role, but her presence in and of itself should have been a dire warning (her other credits include “Casa de mi Padre,” “The Last Stand,” “Identity Thief,” and “Tusk” – none of which were worth the cost of a free movie ticket).
The plot doesn’t even deserve to be transcribed for you. When Neeson kills Harris’s son, Harris vows to kill Neeson and his own son, Kinnaman. Harris and his thugs do their best, but Harris ends up tasking Common with the difficult job. So Neeson and Kinnaman, well, run all night.
The script, in true dumbed-down fashion, is full of shouted ultimatums, faux expressions of sincerity, and disappointing attempts at sophomoric humor. There’s the oversight that let Ed Harris’s character share a name with Robin Williams’s Oscar-winning role in “Good Will Hunting” – unless that was supposed to be some sick version of homage? The ludicrous plot seems a little too convenient, as really juicy clues fall into Common’s lap and the cops are all, without fail, corrupt. Neeson is an alcoholic at the beginning of the movie, but seems to forget the need for whiskey sometime throughout the night. This is just the third Neeson flop in three tries for director Jaume Collet-Serra, who also worked with the Irish lad on “Unknown” and “Non-Stop.” In all, it’s hard to find anything nice to say about “Run All Night.” So I won’t.