Run All Night (2015)

★★★ / 👍

Run All Night (2015) poster

Taken meets A Walk Among The Tombstones, by way of The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Often generic, sometimes absurd, and occasionally aggressively stupid, but still enjoyable. (It probably helps that I’ve avoided most of Neeson’s post-Taken output, so the formula isn’t stale for me yet.)

Unlike, say, some of Denzel Washington’s entries in the Tough Old Guy genre—and I presume most of the Neeson flicks I’ve skipped—Neeson’s character isn’t quite an unstoppable badass here, just a guy with greater-than-expected stamina who’s had lots of practice shooting people. He’s less a force of nature plowing through obstacles, and more of a survivor type who has long since pissed away most of his reasons to keep living, but whaddaya gonna do.

The number of great character actors turning in solid performances in tiny roles in this dopey little genre film—some of them single-scene cameos—puts even John Wick to shame. The action choreography emphatically does not, although it’s mostly pretty good until (as so often in these sorts of films) the final action set-piece just goes on too long to maintain tension.

The major reason I saw this movie theatrically is that it features two actors I really wish were already much bigger stars than they are: Joel Kinnaman and Common. Alas, both display the talent and charisma their earlier roles have showcased, but neither actor has much new material to work with here. At this point Kinnaman can do Working-Class Man With Ambition And A Chip On His Shoulder in his sleep. A few scenes in Run All Night made me idly wonder if Kinnaman would be a better Agent 47 than Rupert Friend—the trailer for the second Hitman movie was attached to this one—but I wouldn’t really want his career to go in that direction. Common actually does play a professional hitman in this film, and acquits himself as well as possible, considering the script requires him to engage in fisticuffs with a man decades older than himself, and to consistently display worse marksmanship than your average Star Wars Stormtrooper.