Liam Neeson is back in action in the gritty crime thriller Run All Night, his third and most satisfying collaboration with filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non-Stop). Neeson once again has a very specific skill set—his nickname isn’t Jimmy the Gravedigger for nothing—but he’s been pickling it in booze for years to drown the guilt of his mob assassinations for Irish crime boss Ed Harris. Then Jimmy’s estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman), a former boxer turned limo driver, lands in serious trouble when his job takes him to the wrong place at the wrong time where he witnesses a gangland murder. Jimmy sobers up quickly and takes on his former boss and best friend—not to mention the bad cops in his pocket—to do protect his boy.
In the world of high-concept crime thrillers, this is surprisingly down to earth. There’s no superheroics or spectacular Die Hard-style stunts here. It’s all handguns and car chases and blood and broken glass on the urban mean streets at night. Collet-Serra grounds it in actual relationships—a son who has no respect for a drop-out father, a mobster who respects his alcoholic best friend more than his reckless son, who would rather play gangsta than understand the balance of power and diplomacy in the criminal underworld, and two fathers who will do anything for their sons despite the past. It’s reminiscent of seventies crime picture, with corrupt cops and criminal codes and a new generation of thug that has no respect for the old ways. If it never becomes anything more than a great paperback crime yarn built on coincidence, bad luck, and blood ties, it does the genre proud. Vincent D’Onofrio brings a weary gravitas to an old-school police detective whose sense of justice outweighs his desire to put Jimmy down and Common is enigmatic as a hired gun with his own specific skill set.
On Cable On Demand, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Xbox, and CinemaNow. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.
Also new on VOD this week:
Wild Tales from Argentina is a wickedly funny anthology of grim urban tales driven by anger and resentment and sustained by witty twists and a streak of mordant humor. It was an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and is in Spanish and rated R. Cable On Demand, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Xbox Video, and CinemaNow. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHAPPiE is a bizarre and very violent collision of Robocop and Short Circuit, about a retired police robot that gains consciousness and becomes a sweet, childlike innocent in the brutal slums of a near-future Johannesburg. It’s a disappointing mix of science fiction fable, social commentary, and brutal spectacle built on sloppy writing and magical science. Rated R for sadistic violence. Cable On Demand, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Xbox Video, and CinemaNow. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.
The Wrecking Crew, a documentary about the Los Angeles studio musicians who played on thousands of recordings through the sixties and early seventies, almost always uncredited and utterly unknown to the general public. On Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Xbox Video, and CinemaNow. Also on Blu-ray and DVD.