It’s hard to describe Run All Night, the latest in the Father Knows Best series starring Liam Neeson, as anything but generic, a workmanlike action thriller whose game cast can’t quite transcend a script that’s brooding and self-serious almost to the point of self-parody. Neeson stars as a washed up hit man who has to protect his son from his best friend/mob boss after he kills his son; it’s the textbook definition of a movie destined for endless re-runs on TNT and yet another instance where Neeson can play a shady but fatherly figure who relishes the opportunity to show of his particular set of skills.
As if we haven’t seen this routine enough, the infinitely more interesting aspects of the story are constantly pushed to the sidelines. Our boy Common plays a supporting role as a fellow hit man with a singular focus, cool gadgets, and his own particular set of skills that are never given full time to develop. He almost comes across as a reverse rendering of a badass for hire a la Jason Statham in The Transporter franchise or
Ryan Gosling in Drive, an almost superhumanly capable marksman and fighter that barely speaks and always keeps his eyes on the prize.
As generic a flick as Run All Night turned out to be, it wasn’t a complete loss. This may be the first time Common and Liam Neeson have shared the screen together, but tangential connections through other movies, directors, and actors put them on the same path toward Run All Night. Let’s make like Kevin Bacon and play Six Degrees of Separation with Common and Liam Neeson!
Ridley Scott (American Gangster/Kingdom of Heaven)
The legendary director was at the helm for both of these films, which respectively featured Common and Neeson in supporting roles.
Morgan Freeman (Wanted/Batman Begins)
Both stars took to the screen in different action-oriented roles that had one common denominator: Morgan Freeman; he played Lucius Fox in Batman Begins and Sloan, the head of The Fraternity in Wanted. It’s beyond difficult finding shots of Freeman with either Common or Neeson, but you get the idea.