“Run All Night” looks to be just another movie where bad guys threaten Liam Neeson’s family, and he uses his particular set of skills to kill them all. And in truth, it isn’t much more than that. But this sturdy genre exercise — Neeson’s third collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra after “Unknown” and “Non-Stop” — finds the imposing Irishman in top form, menacing to villains but soft and likable to us good guys, and Collet-Serra’s workmanlike proficiency keeps all the gears running smoothly.
Neeson plays Jimmy Conlon, a drunken retired hit man who’s drawn back into that violent world when his estranged son, innocent family man Mike (Joel Kinnaman), runs afoul of the coked-up hothead son of his former employer, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). Pursued by the cops and Maguire’s indestructible contract killer (Common), the Conlons must clear Mike’s name and reconcile their own differences. The themes (fathers and sons, past regrets) are familiar and under-developed, and the surprises are few. But Neeson, Harris, and Kinnaman give steely-eyed, better-than-needed performances, elevating the material into the stuff of violent tragedy. It’s better than the last two “Takens,” anyway.
B- (1 hr., 54 min.; )
Reprinted from City Weekly.