Should this movie have been titled Taken 4? Yes.
The gist. Liam Neeson stars as Jimmy Conlon, a former hitman for local crime syndicate leader Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). Their sons end up crossing paths and Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnaman) ends up witnessing a murder. Maguire’s son tries to kill the younger Conlon, but Jimmy (Neeson) takes him out first. So now Maguire is pissed and wants revenge, so he sends all of his best men to kill both Jimmy and Mike. The movie is called Run All Night because it all takes place over one night as they attempt to survive. The most notable assassin out for them is Price, played by Common.
As an action movie, this is hands down better than both Taken 2 and Taken 3. Liam Neeson delivers a more nuanced performance here and kicks more ass too. It’s a pretty cliche story, including a sitdown in an Italian restaurant where the two archenemies lay out all their plans to each other, but it does it really well. There are some great action scenes, including Common popping up to deal some major damage. His performance really surprised me.
I appreciated the dynamic between Neeson and Kinnaman. Nothing super unique, as it’s basically just the cliche “estranged deadbeat dad” story, but it works. They both deliver great performances and carry this story forward.
What doesn’t work?
If you go in expecting a nonstop action thrillride, you might be a bit disappointed, as the first 30/45 minutes are very character-driven and the action doesn’t kick in til then. If you can wait though, the character stuff makes those action scenes a little more consequential.
If you want a fun action movie but want some substantial character development before the bullets start flying, Run All Night might be right up your alley. Doesn’t feel super original but in the genre of “Liam Neeson taking people out,” this is one of the best ones from recent years.