Tag Archives: joel kinnaman

Neeson Fires More Guns in Entertaining ‘Run All Night’

RunAllNight_TeaserPosterStop me if you’ve heard this one before: Liam Neeson plays an alcoholic absentee father who carries a gun and must save the save the day.

“Run All Night” stars Neeson as a former mob hitman who goes on the run (you know, all night long) with his son (Joel Kinnaman) after he kills the son of a mob boss (played by Ed Harris).  Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed Neeson in “Unknown” and “Non-Stop”, directs here.

You’ve seen this movie before. Heck, you’ve seen Liam Neeson make this movie before. And it could have been just another Liam Neeson shoot-em-up in the post-Taken universe, if not for a handful of dedicated performances and well-staged action scenes.

Liam Neeson has rebranded himself as the 60-year-old guy with a gun, and to mixed results. The first “Taken” is fun, while its sequels are average and awful (the latter coming this past January). I liked “Unknown”, but “Non-Stop” was a little too stupid me. “Run All Night” is the best film Liam has been in since the first “Taken”, and I really enjoyed it.

All the actors in the film seem to really be having a good time, while simultaneously giving their all. Neeson and Kinnaman (who portrayed RoboCop last year) have the proper amount of chemistry needed for the kind of strained father-son relationship they’re portraying. I wasn’t a fan of Kinnaman’ stoic face in “RoboCop”, but here it works, playing a son who doesn’t want to open up to a father who was never there.

Common shows up as an assassin hired to hunt down Neeson and Kinnaman, and while I’m still not convinced he’s in this for any reason but to sell more tickets, his character was an interesting addition to the film. It’s also worth noting that in a film that features Liam Neeson, Ed Harris and Nick Nolte (eight nominations between them), Common is the only actor in this movie with an Oscar (for Best Song this past year).

Most of the action is shot very well, and is separated by enough human drama to give the film some depth. I thought both “Unknown” and “Non-Stop” were inhibited by their PG-13 rating, and it is clear director Collet-Serra is taking advantage of his R-rating here. This isn’t necessarily a shoot-em-up, but when guns are fired, most of the time it results in a headshot, which, as a 20-year-old guy, I’m not complaining.

There aren’t too many missteps with “Run All Night”. One thing the film does consistently is aerial shots from one location to another, flying over a clearly CGI New York City, so that irked me for whatever reason. The film’s climax is also just a *little* bit drawn out, especially because, thanks to the movie’s trailers and opening sequence, we can guess the outcome.

“Run All Night” is probably the best of the post-Taken Liam Neeson films, and is also, for what it’s worth, one of the best films of 2015. Neeson and Ed Harris have a fun scene of verbal back-and-forth, and there are several cat-and-mouse scenes with well-executed tension. I really enjoyed this film, and am glad to see Neeson making movies that aren’t “Taken 3” and “Million Ways to Die in the West”.

Critics Rating: 7/10



‘RoboCop’ Remake Needs Some Touch Ups


Another day, another Hollywood remake. It almost never ends well, with remakes like “Total Recall” and “Friday the 13th” receiving critical panning. However occasionally a remake is better than the original, such as “Dredd” and “3:10 to Yuma”.

This time around the film being remade is “RoboCop”, the 1987 movie that was well-received due to its over-the-top violence and satire of American society. And how does its remake fare? Well, it is honestly in between pass and fail.

Starring Joel Kinnaman in the titular role, this 2014 adaption is a retelling of the original film about Alex Murphy, a cop who is nearly killed but manages to be saved by being put inside a cyborg’s body. Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson all co-star. Brazilian director José Padilha helms the film.

In a lot of ways, this new version of RoboCop is like “The Amazing Spider-Man” or “Man of Steel”. It is a movie retelling the origins of a character which features some great ideas and lofty ambitions, and while it hits some of them, it falls flat on others.

The strengths of the film are mainly its supporting cast. Keaton is great fun as the sinister CEO of the company that creates RoboCop. Oldman gives it his all as the doctor who tries to get Alex back into the line of duty after his accident. And Samuel L. Jackson has some entertaining monologues as the host of a talk show, which also serves to explain the movie’s plot narrative.

Another strong point is director Padilha’s ability to shoot entertaining PG-13 action scenes. Yes, in an effort to put more butts in chairs this RoboCop is PG-13 and not hard R like the original. But the styles of violence that are used, such as seeing a lot of the gunfights through RoboCop’s helmet vision, makes us see a high body count without all that close-up, shaky cam that normally accompanies a PG-13 film.

The film’s largest problem lies with RoboCop himself, Joel Kinnaman. It is not that Kinnaman is a bad actor I just believe he is horribly miscast here. His performance is, for lack of a better word, robotic. Even before his accident he shows no emotion or real likable traits, so when he becomes almost all robot and is struggling to regain his human emotional side, we don’t know or care if he succeeds. Unless Kinnaman gets some coaching from Peter Weller, the original RoboCop, this could spell huge trouble if the filmmakers want to make this into a new franchise.

The film’s climax is also somewhat rushed, as there are no real stakes until the very last minute. If there was a better villain or a tighter script, then this really may have been able to be one of those films that were able to brag that it was better than the original. Instead, it falls into generic PG-13 action film territory; but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t worth your time.

People who were alive at the time of the original may get a kick out of seeing how 27 years and $100 million can change a movie, and teenage boys will like seeing robots punch and shoot things. The RoboCop remake is nowhere near as bad as it could have been, but it also is not as much fun as it should have been.

Critics Rating: 6/10