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Run All Night (2015)
Admittedly, I was fairly skeptical heading into this screening. Not-so much because the trailer for Run All Night sort of made it smell like a dusted-off script from the 20-year-old craptacular glory days of Steven Seagal movies, but that it might possibly end up feeling like a ballsy yet dismal switch-up of the Taken film trilogy starring Neeson that mercifully ended five minutes ago. Did you see Taken 3 (2014)? Yikes. Happily, Run All Night is neither. It also easily buries Neeson's recent gumshoe misfire, A Walk Among The Tombstones (2014). Screenwriter Brad Ingelsby provides a fun and gritty, 1990s-flavoured epic of hard-earned redemption packed into a thrilling, white-knuckled rollercoaster ride for Robert Mitchum, uh, I mean Liam Neeson to drag you through here.
Holy cripes, Neeson is absolutely phenomenal in this role. Perpetually wincing at his scars as a haunted killer while thrown against the lawless forces that created him, Jimmy has ached from a distance to somehow do right by his unforgiving adult son, Mike, who has long since moved on with his own life and family. Five years of self-destructive grief over the death of Mike's mother sticks to Jimmy like a crust under the dust of many more years since this aged alcoholic pariah's nickname, The Gravedigger, meant anything on the street. Mike, a legitimate Manhattan limo driver called last-minute to drive Armenian drug smugglers to the home of punk Irish gangbanger Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), ends up witnessing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Danny wants Mike dead, and a single killshot from Jimmy's old gun in defense against Danny later that evening immediately launches the seething and unyielding cruel wrath of Danny's father, long-time gangland don Shawn Maguire.
There are so many intensely amazing scenes in this movie. At one pivotal point early on, when a remorseful Jimmy respectfully pleads his case to his friend-turned-foe, you can see the volcanic rage slowly engulf the air around Ed Harris playing opposite Neeson as Shawn Maguire. Every effortless glance and gesture from Harris in that scene signals escalating levels of impending brutal ruin to be exacted without mercy upon Jimmy and Mike by this wounded god of the underworld. It truly is that operatic. Top marks also go to Joel Kinnaman as Jimmy's brittle yet righteous son Mike, whose performance manages to pull notable moments of realism out of a story that could have easily marginalized his supporting character.
Run All Night is definitely a must-see high octane popcorn flick for crime action fans. Sure, editing-wise, it sometimes strains and stumbles a bit under the constraints and clichés of it all happening over the course of one night. Chalk that up to the 90s flavour I mentioned earlier kicking in at times. Over-all, Run All Night is an incredibly entertaining and satisfying crowd pleaser that also engages a paying audience above the neck with smartly-written dialogue and characters fully realized by this outstanding cast of talent. Awesome. Reviewed 03/15, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca.
Run All Night is rated 14A by
the Ontario Film Review Board, citing scenes containing some
grotesque images in a fantasy, comedic or historic context, coarse
language, sexual references, illustrated or verbal references
to drugs, alcohol or tobacco, occasional upsetting or disturbing
scenes, substance abuse, limited embracing and kissing, and violent
acts shown in clear, unequivocal and realistic detail with blood
and tissue damage, and is rated 13+ by la Régie du Cinéma
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