A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Run All Night is a revenge-driven action thriller starring Liam Neeson. The main character struggles with his past as a hit man and tries to find redemption, and his son tries not to follow in his father's footsteps by being a good father to his own children. But there's a high body count and tons of violence, with shooting, fighting, stabbing, bloody wounds, and blood spatters. There are also fires (a character's face is burned), explosions, car chases, and car crashes. Extremely strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," and much more; there's also some very strong (albeit occasional) innuendo. Minor characters are drug dealers and are seen snorting cocaine. A packet of heroin is also shown, and pot is referenced. The main character is often shown drunk, but he stops drinking while on the run. Messages of actions and consequences play into the story, which could provide some discussion for older teens.
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What's the story?
Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is an aging hit man who struggles with money and booze, even though he still has the respect of his childhood friend, successful gangster Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). Jimmy's son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), has a family, works a legitimate job, and even mentors kids at a local boxing gym, but he wants nothing to do with Jimmy. Then Mike finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when he witnesses Shawn's loose-cannon son, Danny (Boyd Holbrook), killing some dangerous thugs. Danny turns his gun on Mike, but Jimmy saves Mike by shooting Danny. Unfortunately, everyone thinks Mike is to blame, so Shawn's gang, a contract killer (Common), and the cops all chase after both father and son over the course of one long night.
Is it any good?
Director Jaume Collet-Serra, who's made two other Liam Neeson movies -- Unknown (2011) and Non-Stop (2014) -- isn't exactly subtle, and his movies can't quite be called tightly crafted or clever. He's not a master of action scenes, and the chases and shootouts in RUN ALL NIGHT are fairly choppy and without a good sense of space. But what he does have is the knowledge of just how to use Neeson in an action thriller.
Collet-Serra understands the appeal of older, stoic Irish actor -- and what he brings to the screen that a chiseled twentysomething does not. Collet-Serra creates the movie's finest moments in the humanity of the character interactions, creating a space where all of the primary players grew up together in the same New York neighborhood and are prone to talking or joking before trying to kill one another. The scenes with Neeson and Harris especially resonate with the weight of an unspoken bond that goes back long before the story started.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Run All Night's violence. How did it affect you? Does it enhance or detract from the story? How does it compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Which has more impact? Why?
Why do you think Neeson's character is shown drinking so much in the beginning of the story? What does it say about him that he's able to stop in the second part of the story? Do you think that was intended to send a particular message?
Revenge is key motivator in the movie. Do you think revenge is ever justified? What are other ways to deal with anger?
The main character decides to disappear from his son's life, rather than stay and be a poor role model. Do you agree with his choice?
One character mentors a kid by teaching him how to box. Does this seem like a positive or a negative act?
- In theaters: March 13, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2015
- Cast: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman
- Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use
- Last updated: May 05, 2020
For kids who love action and thrills
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