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  Run All Night Cross The LineBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lois Smith, Common, Beau Knapp, Patricia Kalember, Daniel Stewart Sherman, James Martinez, Radivoje Bukovic, Holt McCallany, Nick Nolte
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a bit of a joke these days. He used to be a gangster of some renown, working for his old friend and possibly sole ally Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), a gang boss who went legit some time ago, but now it doesn’t matter how many hits he carried out, he’s better known for hitting the bottle. Maguire’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) is dealing with the cash for his father’s employees when Jimmy enters the room seeking a loan of a few hundred dollars, so Danny agrees – but with one condition, that the near-broken down man should play Santa Claus for the employees’ kids, as much to humiliate Jimmy as it is to do him a favour, especially as he is reluctant. He has a son of his own, the estranged Mike (Joel Kinnaman), and Christmas is about to reunite them…

Yes, there was that particular Yuletide magic at work here in a film that… saw a bunch of people gunned down as the festive season was in full swing. But aside from this, Run All Night was really one of those cheating Christmas movies that were set at the time of year but used that as a backdrop to the mayhem (see also: Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, etc) rather than endeavour to make the audience feel all warm and cosy by the credits. What it actually was turned out to be a gangster action flick where Jimmy and Mike were hunted down across the New York City night by a host of unlovely, gun-wielding thugs, including sometime rapper Common as a sort of Terminator in a raincoat.

You would in addition be under the false impression this was a serious crime drama from that first fifteen minutes or so which introduced an orphan boy called Legs (Aubrey Joseph) who Mike looks after unofficially, and the sort of mobster code between Jimmy and Shawn given as much weight as anything in The Godfather, among other indicators that the filmmakers wanted you to take this very seriously. But really it was a cross between The Warriors (loads of people out to murder the good guys over the course of one night) and Road to Perdition (boss wants revenge on the man he nurtured as a trusted underling, son involved along the way), with some nuts and bolts stunts and shootouts for flavour.

Neeson was well into his ageing man of action career renaissance by this stage, though there were signs that unless he was flexing those muscles in a Taken movie, not as many would turn out for it at the box office, and indeed this particular item flopped, only finding an audience on home viewing outlets, and even then by no means in blockbuster dimensions. Yet in his attempts to find new shades to his stock character, Jimmy could only be defined by dint of being a loser redeemed by the love of his son, who he does his best to rescue from Shawn’s hitmen after he is wrongly accused of murdering Danny. Why? It’s because he witnessed Danny killing rival gang members he was welshing on a deal with, and Jimmy stepped in to execute the upstart when he tried to kill Mike, the sole witness.

Well, not the only one, as Legs has captured one of the murders on his cameraphone, conveniently providing the evidence to prove Mike is being framed by Shawn and the policemen in his pay all the better to hand over to the one cop who is not corrupt but is on the case, Detective Harding (Vincent D'Onofrio, channelling his inner M. Emmet Walsh). With that taken care of, all that was left for Run All Night to do was see to it that its two heroes survived through their bickering and deeper differences of opinion, with special emphasis on Jimmy making certain Mike did not kill anyone, thereby giving the law all the excuse they needed to put him behind bars. In truth, this wasn’t a bad set up for a modern day Western, and if Kinnaman was too grumpy to warm to, then Neeson had a damaged, ramshackle charm that demonstrated his star power as he tries to save Mike’s family (Genesis Rodriguez was his missus, with very little to do as the most prominent female) and contain the threat. Maybe not hugely memorable, but it rattled along fairly well. Music by Junkie XL.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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