Sunday, March 15, 2015

Run All Night

This isn't quite a "don't think about it too much or you'll ruin it" situation, but I do admit to being less enthusiastic for this one after seeing it. It's the sort of movie that gets the job done without raising a lot of red flags while you're watching it - I mention the director's basic competence compared to the likes of Olivier Megaton et al, and that's a bigger deal than one sometimes realizes. Afterward, though, it's hard not to see the spots where it could have been better, or where it otherwise fell flat.

Seen worse, though, and got the unexpected bonus of MoviePass - whose app is apparently wobbly in different ways on my new phone than my old one - being somewhat lenient in how it enforced the 24-hour rule today - previously, you couldn't check in until the full amount of time had passed, but I was able to check into a 7pm movie at 6:40-ish despite having seen another at 7pm the night before. Handy, as I really didn't feel like killing another half-hour.

Run All Night

* * (out of four)
Seen 14 March 2015 in Regal Fenway #11 (first-run, 4K DCP)

There's no shame in buying a ticket for Run All Night on the basis of "Liam Neeson versus Ed Harris"; the two are commanding actors who, near as I can tell, have not worked together before. In fact, they're good enough that it may take all the way until their big showdown to realize that this sort of action movie is far from the best showcase for these particular men in their mid-sixties. Do we really want to see them hobbling after each other at the climax?

Truth be told, Neeson's late-career run as an action hero has never really made sense. It started with Luc Besson matching him with a character whose greatest asset was an intimidating voice and stature, brutally finishing confrontations before his opponent knew what was happening, but every movie since Taken has tried to fit him into ever-more elaborate action sequences that he's just not suited for. And so it is here; he's not turning in his best work, but he's still convincing as a man whom a lifetime of violence has worn down, but who can summon authority when need be. It's understandable why people keep giving him these roles when the story becomes about his Jimmy Conlon, but just as obvious he should move on when the action requires him to run or exchange more than a punch or two.

Similarly, Ed Harris makes a great villain; he's got the weathered face of someone who has survived all comers and can seem to project immense conviction through his lean frame when called for. He's more suited to westerns where the ability and willingness to get the first shot is what's crucial, rather than any sustained fight or chase, but he fortunately doesn't have to be as active as Neeson does. He does well playing this sort of hard veteran, and builds every scene he's got with either Neeson or any other actor as something genuine, fueled by a good measure of grief an later fury.

Full review on EFC

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