Liam Neeson’s late-career transformation into action star has yielded more interesting results than you might expect. Taken was novel purely because of his involvement and is otherwise xenophobic nonsense, but The Grey is a worthwhile rumination on death and masculinity, and Non-Stop is wonderfully daffy popcorn fun. Neeson re-teaming here with that film’s director Jaume Collett-Serra piqued my anticipation for more absurd entertainment, but sadly it was not to be.
Instead, Run All Night is a bog standard crime thriller, notable for making Neeson’s former-mob-muscle character mostly irredeemable (mostly), but otherwise powerfully dull. While Neeson’s scenes with crime boss Ed Harris generate some sparks (both men are great actors, it would be hard for them not to), the rest of the cast gets little to do besides act gruff and/or stoic.
Joel Kinnaman is the second lead here, playing Neeson’s estranged son. Events conspire to make them less estranged, and soon they have to run (all night). Unfortunately I find Kinnaman’s tough-guy shtick largely unappealing, so watching him grimace his way through another movie was a bit of a chore.
Collett-Serra throws in a few moments of visual panache but they largely fail to stick. He’s at his flashiest during the many computer-assisted shots that fly through the city to show characters’ proximity to one another, but these soon get annoying once you realize they’re totally redundant; flash for flash’s sake.
There’s some moderately enjoyable action, and watching Neeson bust heads still retains a bit of novelty value, but Run all Night is mostly a bore, a bunch of great ingredients that combine into something surprisingly bland.