Movie Review: Run All Night

There’s something about action movies that doesn’t really appeal to me. Perhaps it’s the epiphany that my life will never be anywhere near as exciting, or maybe just the realization that I’m too skinny to even pack a punch to Captain America before the steroids.

This piece by Jaume Collet-Serra thankfully goes beyond the mindless fisticuff and needless bloodshed that is usually required of action movies. The director’s third collaboration with 62-year-old Liam Neeson (after the spy flick Unknown and airplane-set thriller, Non-Stop) who is infamous in the meme world for his promise to ‘find and kill’, proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable rollercoaster.

Neeson stars as hitman and misunderstood father Jimmy Conlon, who after a life of numerous homicides, gets a chance to salvage a bit of purpose by embarking on a night-long escapade with his son, limo driver Michael (Joel Kinnaman).


After innocently escorting two shady businessmen in his limousine and witnessing their death in the hands of Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), Michael becomes an unwitting target in Danny’s wild goose chase to eradicate the evidence. Unfortunately, during Papa Jim’s desperate bid to save his son, Danny ends up with a bullet in the neck. 


Usually a police report and a beer would mean the end of it. However, the dead Danny’s father happens to be mob leader Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) – Jimmy’s long-time best friend. Of course, you kill the son of your mobster friend, and a megalomanic operation to kill yours will ensue.


Despite the movie’s orthodox plot, the well-shot fighting scenes and development between the main characters hit the right notes. It is hard for this writer to not feel giddy whenever there is excessive fracas, but they weren’t too shabby compared to Kingsman’s tussles.

Long shots were one of several constant features in the show’s commendable cinematography; in addition to excessive close-ups of Liam Neeson’s face. The shifts from one location setting to the other was of a similar style to Grand Theft Auto’s character switching transitions and was simply pleasurable to the eye.


However, the most impressive element of the movie was still the father-son relationship between the Conlon duo. It turned out rather well – Jimmy not too apologetic for abandoning his son, nor Michael too forgiving of said abandonment. It provoked a rather tear-jerking ending to those who can relate to the notion of fatherly love and sacrifice. Plaudits go to both Liam and Joel for a truly impeccable performance.


What was a pity for an otherwise immaculate action movie, however, was the lack of explanation behind the motivation of the hitman (rapper-actor Common) hired by Shawn to kill Jimmy. The dialogue dropped hints that seemed to suggest a past between the two but the plot did little to show us what really went down before. Considering that Common appears on all of the posters, surely he deserves more than just a burnt face and a lame pointer gun.

Overall, it is a good choice for a movie if you have 2 hours to spare and crave some deep manly voices. Not the best action flick we’ve seen but if you liked Taken, you’ll like this one.

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Release Date: 12 March 2015

Runtime: 114 minutes

Language: English

Censorship Rating: NC16

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Main Actors: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Common

Photos courtesy of: Warner Bros. Singapore