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'Run All Night':Don't Mess with Liam's Kids

Liam Neeson is paternal avenger again in “Run All Night,’ an urban noir that has him doing battle with mobster Ed Harris

Liam Neeson (foreground) is a washed-up enforcer for gangsters who goes up against his old boss in order to save his son's life.
Liam Neeson (foreground) is a washed-up enforcer for gangsters who goes up against his old boss in order to save his son's life.Read more

"RUN ALL NIGHT" further establishes Liam Neeson as cinema's Deadliest Dad, this time ready to kill for his son.

This got me thinking about an idea for a dream project: Neeson as father to a jazz drummer son who starts getting slapped around by J.K. Simmons from "Whiplash," thus leading to the greatest parent/teacher conference ever.

In the meantime, there's "Run All Night," in which Neeson fights to protect his son, who's been targeted for a revenge killing by a small army of mobster thugs.

It's easy to lump this movie in with the "Taken" films, but "Run All Night" is actually more like a throw-back film noir, a grisly little B-movie set among the gritty echelons of low-level urban mobsters.

Neeson is Jimmy, a drunken stumblebum who used to be the fearsome enforcer for local gangster Shawn (Ed Harris), who keeps him propped up on a stool at a mob-owned bar out of loyalty and sentimentality.

Their tough-guy bond (well drawn by Neeson and Harris) is frayed and broken when Shawn's son is murdered, and Jimmy's kid (Joel Kinnaman) looms as designated payback.

What follows is an old-school, stunt-driven action movie, a series of car chases and fistfights, unfolding in the course of a single night in Manhattan and surrounding boroughs. If you want to see Neeson beat a guy to death with a urinal (and if you're reading this review, you probably do), then "Run All Night" is for you.

It's apparently also for the NHL, which lent its brands to "Run All Night" for prominent product placement. A shared belief in the concept of enforcers?

The movie is also timed for St. Patrick's Day, when it's apparently believed that audiences will applaud the spectacle of Irish-American gangsters shooting and punching each other. This seems a little insulting, but at least it's not another "Leprechaun" movie.