It seems like yesterday that aging was an actor’s worst enemy. Back then as an actor aged, the roles pretty much dried up, except to play the crazy grandpa who would chase the grandkids around with a orange slice in his mouth, ah the good old days. Now it seems if you are over sixty instead of playing the crazy grandpa, you are saving your family from the bad guys with a certain set of skills you posses. With Liam Neeson finding a new career as an action star, and with the action icons of the eighties still trying to fill those roles today, it makes you wonder what’s next, Spicoli as a deadly weapon? Just wait.
For now we don’t have to worry about the what the future holds, all we care about is the present, and during that time Liam Neeson is back to being just simply a bad ass. Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, who is the kind of guy you don’t want your kids to grow up to be. It seems Jimmy has chosen the wrong guy to look up to in Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), and that choice has made many people pay with their lives. Maguire though is an old school crook, the kind who now runs a legitimate business; his son though is what you call ambitious. Danny (Boyd Holbrook) is trying to impress his dad, but when he makes a bad decision, he wants to show his dad he can clean up his own mess. Jimmy’s son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) on the other hand, wants nothing to do with his father, but one night he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now Mike has to trust Jimmy as they have one night to right all the wrongs of the past.
Now as you well know, one does not go to any of Neeson’s current films to see a work of art, you go because he like watching him do things to the bad guys that most of them deserve. This time there is a twist, Neeson is not the hero, he’s the bad guy who wants to just save his son, is tired of facing his wicked past. While Neeson is his usual good aim, Kinnaman shows the skills that made him so popular on “The Killing”. With Ed Harris doing his best grumpy old man bit, Common showing up with out his signature go tee and even the future Kingpin himself Vincent D’Onofrio making an appearance as a cop who has been waiting for Jimmy to slip-up, as a whole the film has a good cast. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop) and writer Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furance) give Neeson his best material in his newfound action star roll, with a decent story of redemption.
“Run All Night” is dark and gritty, and doesn’t really pull an punches when it comes to its story, it’s a just slightly above average action movie. I for one like that we are not ready to quit on our action stars of the past, and we are giving men the same age chances to join that group. In the end it’s a simple enough movie that doesn’t make you want to run out of the theater, and sometimes that’s enough.