Saturday, 13 June 2015

Run All Night (2015)

Despite being over the age of 60 Liam Neeson is still, somehow, being pushed as a cinematic badass, a modern day Clint Eastwood. Its something that bemuses me frankly, I can understand him making the odd kickass flick (like Costner did), but Neeson has become this aged, one man army, action man franchise. The thing is, all his movies have been virtually the same! it started with him killing everyone in 'Taken' and now he kills everyone in everything, the invincible Irishman.

Here Neeson (Jimmy) is an aging Irish ex-hitman who is estranged from his son and family, due to his violent past. Jimmy's best friend and old boss Shawn (Ed Harris) is the mobster head honcho with a rebellious wildcard of a son (Danny). This young whippersnapper arranges a drug deal with some Albanians but Shawn refuses to deal with them saying he doesn't do drugs anymore. This causes a problem for Danny as the Albanians threaten to kill him unless he gets their cash back, so Danny kills them. Unfortunately Jimmy's son Mike (Kinnaman) sees this murder and is chased by Danny which eventually leads to Jimmy having to kill Danny. This sets up the entire premise for the movie as Shawn must now have his long time friend and associate killed for whacking his son.

This tale is slightly different to the rest of Neeson's tough guy flicks, to a degree. Yes it has Neeson once again killing everyone whilst being pretty unstoppable, but the story has a nice throwback vibe to it. The film feels a bit like an old fashioned gangster flick from the 70's or 80's, especially with the two main criminals played by Neeson and Harris. To me it looks as though Neeson has also been given a slightly dated, late 70's, early 80's appearance here, costume wise that is (face and hair is exactly the same as usual). His character is Irish in the movie, so dare I say that his look has a kind of IRA feel to it? that green hunting/military style coat he wears gave me that impression. Harris comes across as a character from a Scorsese movie with his bulbous head and craggy features, his whole performance has a really nice old school feel to it. On the other hand this might all be just me, just my personal thoughts and impressions here.

As for Kinnaman well, this guy can't act basically, he virtually spends the entire runtime grimacing and scowling, generally acting angry. He literately pulls the same facial expression in every shot and comes across as a bit of a shit to be honest, I found it hard to get behind his character. The other main characters are simply the honest gruff cop on Jimmy's tail played by Vincent D'Onofrio, a standard cliched character. Plus a hitman hired by Shawn who runs around kinda looking and acting like a black Terminator. Seriously the dude just goes with this blank emotionless stare and nothing else, hardly any dialog or anything, he's really trying for his best 1984 Arnie impersonation. What made me laugh is he actually starts killing cops and innocent people randomly when the action kicks in, if he's always done that then I'm pretty sure he would be top of the FBI hit list by now. Oh and he also wears a hi-tec night vision eye piece at one point too, which glows neon green, to make it easier for everyone to see he's up to something.

The movie is chock full of silly plot holes and moments that just seem daft. At the start when Danny is after Mike, there are gunshots going off all over the place, the pair are crashing through gardens, over fences, breaking things and generally causing a huge raucous. Yet no one seems to notice this, the cops aren't called, nothing, its as though they were doing all this in a deserted part of town. This leads me to the point where Jimmy shoots Danny, now Jimmy is a hitman, a crack shot, a professional killer, yet he couldn't shoot the kid in the shoulder or leg just to incapacitate him? I realise the kid was outta control and dangerous but Jimmy knew full well who he was and the retribution that would follow his actions, yet he kills him.

Then following on from this, Shawn knows that his kid was out of control, reckless and didn't listen to his specific instructions, he knows it wasn't Jimmy's fault. Yet he still turns on his best friend and puts a contract on his head. Yeah sure Jimmy killed his son, but he knew why, he knew Danny was a loose cannon in general and didn't follow his instructions on the night, surely in his line of work he would understand Jimmy's reactions and (understandably hesitantly) let it go. If it was just some random guy off the street then I'd understand it but Shawn knew Jimmy, they had been friends many many years, he surely would have known Jimmy did what he did as a last resort. When you're a mob boss you'd think the guy would be used to things like this happening and that he'd know sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, even if it means doing something you don't wanna do.

The final really stupid thing (I thought) was the finale. Jimmy has finally had enough with the feud so he goes to Shawn's very olde worlde stereotypically Irish looking pub and kills everyone. He literately strolls into the pub and guns down every one of Shawn's men quickly and efficiently without a second thought. Now surely if it was that easy, why didn't he just do this in the first place. Again I realise he would wait to see if he could fix things with Shawn but blimey if he was that good...why wait? Then the actual final sequence right at the end where Jimmy finally puts down the Terminator hitman (yeah spoiler, as if you didn't already guess he would kill the baddie hitman), is laughable. Such an epically, overdone and ludicrous moment of macho bullshit, and just to make sure, its done in slow motion baby.

Now while this is a very slick shiny action movie with a solid premise, its also very predictable and run of the mill. Yes I know I said it has a cool throwback vibe but that doesn't completely exonerate it. Its a glossy affair much like previous Neeson action thrillers and it offers virtually the same spiel, so if you like his new line of arse kicking then you'll like this. The only thing that really stood out here was the splendidly intimidating performance by Harris...and his Skeletor-like features. You basically get exactly what you pay for which is a self contained story about Liam Neeson being yet another 60+ year old Chuck Norris-type juggernaut.