RUNNING OUT OF STEAM

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Liam Neeson has become the slightly past-it Hollywood action hero over the last few years. It started with Taken and since then, he has starred in a catalog of forgettable films. Run All Night is the latest in this long line. Neeson plays burnt out Irish pitman Jimmy Conlon, who is forced to choose here his allegiances lie, with his estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) or his lifelong friend Irish gangster Sean Maguire (played by Ed Harris). It is competent enough although much of the dialogue is beyond cheesy and there are some truly stupid action scenes peppered throughout the film. Run All Night is entertaining fare while it lasts but it’s a film that won’t even make any impact on your memory as soon as you leave the cinema. A Walk Among The Tombstones, where Neeson played Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder, which was released last year, did prove that he can still act but sadly most of the time he chooses generic action shlock like this. A real shame…

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TAKEN FOR A RIDE
The first Taken, back in 2008, was enjoyable nonsense. Liam Neeson made a decent fist as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills running around Europe to find his missing daughter. Hollywood also thought it was something that was worth mining again for a sequel. Fast-forward a few years and Mills is separated from wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and he only sees his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) for driving lessons. But there are repercussions from the people he dispatched in the first film and so the father of one of the men he killed in the first film and his henchmen are out to avenge the man’s dead son. Neeson is a very limited actor but if Taken 2 had an intelligent or even vaguely clever premise, script, plot or execution, this wouldn’t really matter. The problem is that obstacles are thrown in his way and he manages to get around them with staggering ease. The action sequences are well directed but very stupid and Neeson is lumpen and there’s no credibility at all for him as an action hero. Taken 2 is empty, vacuous and lacking any substance at all and let’s hope we won’t see a third outing for this waste of digital celluloid. The only good thing about this film is its short running time…