Three is indeed the charm. Having worked together on Non-Stop and Unknown, Ballymena's one-man army and director Jaume Collet-Serra turn in their best collaboration with Run All Night, a gritty and grainy action-thriller that puts the boot in any chance it gets and which should have fans of the big guy and all things hardboiled thumping the armrest in approval. If you thought the Taken sequels were too watered down to secure those 12A ratings then don't worry; the bone-crunch index is much higher here. How high? Well, someone is lamped with a bathroom sink. It's that kind of movie.
Neeson plays Jimmy 'The Gravedigger' Conlon, a washed up hitman for the Irish mob who's haunted by his kill list and finding no answers at the bottom of a bottle. Pitied by boss Shawn Maguire (Harris) and ridiculed by the heavies, Conlon's world is one as lacking in redemption as it is in meaning. That is until the life of his estranged, law-abiding son Mike (Kinnaman) is put in danger and Conlon has to put the revolver back in his army jacket and hit the streets. The NYPD overtime bill will have a few more zeroes on it by dawn.
Get over the fact that a barely functioning alcoholic returns to his former calling as ruthlessly efficient executioner with about 15 minutes' notice and the Run All Night rollercoaster really is worth hopping on. Neeson, yet again, gives his very particular set of skills masterclass as Conlon; Kinnaman is suitably antsy and angst-ridden as his decent son; Harris looks and sounds like he's made of rock and Common provides the chills as Mister Price, a contract killer with a penchant for nice raincoats and laser sights. All damaged men, and with lots of damage to do here.
Collet-Serra's grá for the fast edit and those nifty overhead shots is very much in evidence here, with the pacing as relentless as Conlon's desire to protect his own. If anything, the director could have added another 15 minutes of character beats (and beatings) to his central quartet without slowing things down, and it would've been nice to see D'Onofrio, Rodriguez and Nolte (the good cop, wife and uncle respectively) have a little more to do - the script was certainly strong enough.
The big question at the end isn't how long Neeson can keep these shenanigans up, but when they're going to put himself and Denzel Washington in the same film.