Blu-ray Review: Run All Night

By , Contributor
Liam Neeson seems to be saturating the market with the same type of dour, stylishly grim action thriller that he first hit pay dirt with in Taken back in 2008. While that particular film was an irresistible adrenaline surge, the law of diminishing returns definitely applies where his latest effort is concerned. Run All Night (now available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital HD via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) is pretty dreary, although the premise has possibilities that director Jaume Collet-Serra didn’t explore deeply enough. Screenwriter Brad Ingelsby explores the fear of one father’s sins being passed to his son. With Neeson as the father and Joel Kinnaman (The Killing, Robocop) as the son, acting sparks should’ve flown. Unfortunately that’s just not the case.

Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) is an Irish Mafia-connected alcoholic living in a state of perpetual depression. His son Mike (Kinnaman) works as a boxing coach and chauffeur. When Mike accepts a job driving Danny Maguire (Boyd Holbrook), son of mob boss and Jimmy’s longtime associate Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), he winds up witnessing a murder. Most of Run All Night unfolds over a very long, dark night as Jimmy attempts to keep his son alive after Mike shoots Danny dead in self defense. A distressing lack of thrills keeps the film from ever developing any real sense of excitement. It does have atmosphere to spare, but that’s just not enough to carry it.

Run All Night 1 (380x253).jpgThe supporting cast also includes Bruce McGill, Vincent D’Onofrio, Génesis Rodríguez, Common, and Nick Nolte (in a cameo). You’d think that with this group of actors, director Collet-Serra (whose previous work with Neeson includes the more exciting films Unknown and Non-Stop) would have a field day. But the dialogue doesn’t have any zip and the action-oriented scenes are uniformly limp. In fact, if you’re behind on films featuring Liam Neeson portraying a man in possession of “a very particular set of skills,” definitely try out the imperfect but very underrated A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Warner Bros.’ Blu-ray presentation is rock solid, as it should be for a major theatrical release. Martin Ruhe’s cinematography is dark and moody, but the high definition transfer never sacrifices clarity or fine detail. It’s getting increasingly harder to muster excitement for a 1080p presentation of a new, studio-backed movie; there’s no reason, after all for it to look anything less than basically perfect. More exciting is the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, which is notably enveloping and extremely dynamic. The original score by Junkie XL is but one of many layers within this complex, kinetic, first-rate audio mix.

Run all Night b (380x253).jpgThe Blu-ray Combo Pack, in addition to a standard DVD and downloadable Digital HD copy, contains a pair of exclusive featurettes: “Shoot All Night” and “Action All Night.” Neither is especially informative, but it’s nice to have something. Both the Blu-ray and standard DVD edition include deleted scenes as well. It’s not a particularly robust selection of extras, but that’s not surprisingly given the lukewarm reaction the film received.

In the end, Run All Night is best left to the most devoted of hardcore Liam Neeson fans.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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