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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Run All Night (Blu-ray)
Run All Night (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // R // June 16, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $44.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Oktay Ege Kozak | posted June 24, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

When it comes to picking which Liam Neeson actioner to spend a couple of hours on, choosing the right European director is key. In this case, leaving France and veering into Spain might be a better idea. Yes, French director Pierre Morel kick started Neeson's badass action protagonist renaissance with 2008's Taken, but Morel and Neeson hasn't worked together again since. And to be honest, Taken's a bit overrated. Are there any memorable scenes you can think of other than the infamous "I will find you" speech?

From that point on, the Taken franchise has been taken over (I couldn't help it) by another French director, Olivier Megaton, whose name sounds like he was born to direct dumb action movies, if only that was indeed his real name. He treated Neeson as a blunt and lifeless action archetype and wrapped him around shameless melodramatic thriller premises in two Taken sequels that can be professionally described as "lame". Meanwhile, Neeson has been collaborating with Jaume Collet-Serra, a Spanish director who knows the actor's strengths and weaknesses and puts him in unremarkable yet entertaining action/thrillers that admittedly follow certain rules of tired genre conventions while also treating the audience like adults and not dumb teenagers.

Run All Night is the third time Serra and Neeson worked together after Unknown and Non-Stop, and even though those flicks were decent on their own, this mob thriller/action represents the best of their collaborations so far. It's still not great or entirely too memorable, and let's face it, none of the Neeson actioners really are (Joe Carnahan's superb The Grey doesn't count), but it's a well-executed and paced "run from the angry mob" chase flick with a couple of excellent action set pieces that rely on practical stunts, as well as a basic but efficient theme of redemption.

The plot is incredibly simple, a reverse John Wick, if you will: Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a hit man for Irish mobster Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). After Jimmy's straight and narrow son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) witnesses Shawn's deadbeat criminal son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) kill a couple of drug dealers after a deal gone bad, Danny goes after Mike to tie up all loose ends. This leaves Jimmy with no choice but to kill Danny before he can take out Mike, who's been pretending Jimmy doesn't even exist due to his desire to distance himself as far away from Jimmy's violent past as possible. Thus begins an all-night chase as Jimmy tries to protect Mike from the wrath of the mob and the police, which is mostly controlled by the mob except for the one incorruptible cop cliché (Vincent D'Onofrio) who tries to catch Jimmy and bring him in to face real justice.

The execution is pretty straightforward as far as adult action/thrillers are concerned, and that's kind of why it works as engaging entertainment. The action sequences are not overtly flashy, and the dramatic scenes that mostly focus on Jimmy trying to patch things up with his estranged son don't veer too far into melodrama. The redemption theme that surrounds Jimmy is handled with enough respect as to not become too condescending, and Neeson fans looking forward to him efficiently mowing down bad guys will not leave disappointed, especially considering the badass bar shootout scene.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

As the title suggests, Run All Night takes place during one night in the seediest parts of New York City and therefore is awash in deep blacks and industrial colors. The digital cinematography has a late era Michael Mann feel to it, with lots of contrast and details that pop, accompanied by a slight motion blur. The 1080p transfer perfectly captures the film's gritty feel without any particular video noise.

Audio:

Get ready to enjoy an immersive action experience with Run All Night's DTS-HD 5.1 presentation. The sound mix is always vibrant, even during non-action scenes, but never becomes obnoxious. The fight and chase scenes are full of visceral detail as far as sfx are concerned, and the surround mix provides ample depth and presence.

Extras:

Shoot All Night: A pretty standard 10-minute EPK. It has some interesting tidbits from interviewees about the challenges of nighttime shoots.

Action All Night: Another 10-minute EPK, this one focuses on the cast and crew singing Neeson's praises.

Deleted Scenes: A whopping 16 minutes of deleted and alternate material. Some of these are interesting, but all of them are unnecessary.

Final Thoughts:

Apart from Serra and Neeson obviously making a good pair as far as Neeson's action brand is concerned, I'm also glad to see that the duo have finally been able to sell an R rating to the studio. A film about a violent chase from a New York mobster would have lost a lot of credibility if it were edited down to the usual PG-13. Run All Night doesn't rewrite the rules of the genre, and that's not even its goal. But it manages to present an engaging straight genre exercise that sticks to its guns, both literally and figuratively.

Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com

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