Runtime: 114 Mins
What To Expect: A movie which becomes kinda silly, saved by a heavyweight cast
This is a movie right up our street. The old mob thriller with a shots of revenge thrown into the mix. Even better, it has Ed Harris, who is the first name I’ll mention for this movie because I believe he’s the best (and manliest) actor in the cast. I’d recommend it, just about. Because look man, we love movies where men get fucked up and shot to death when they threaten a family member. Especially when the victim’s father calls them up on the phone and provides pre-commentary on impending reprisal.
Liam Neeson is Jimmy ‘The Gravedigger’ Conlon, a retired wino mobster who has earned his nickname by killing more in New York than Chairman Mao stiffed in East Asia. Neeson’s best friend is mob boss Shawn Maguire, played by Harris. After Maguire’s son gets himself killed by threatening Neeson’s son, Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnaman), Maguire senior sends out half the killers in the east coast to kill both Conlons. Throw some corrupt cops into the mix and Conlon’s have little choice but to ‘run’. Or kill.
This movie will cater to those who liked Out of the Furnace or Cold in July. But it can’t quite match the tension of Furnace or icy brutality of July. My main complaints with this movie… firstly there’s a Terminator-like assassin, with definite nods to Terminator 1 & 2, sent out to take down Neeson and Kinnaman. That whole part of the story makes the movie sail dangerously close to action stupidity rather than mature, astute mobster flick. It hurts the ending especially. Second, Joel Kinnaman to me is kind of a wooden actor and that kind of thing might have fit for RoboCop, a dead cyborg/robot, but I expected more range from an actor cast alongside the likes of Neeson and Harris here.
The best parts of the movie though feature Ed Harris and Liam Neeson. There’s good chemistry between the two and they’ve been around the block enough to pull off this gangster shit quite convincingly, even if there’s an assassin from some type of Van Damme movie in there. Anyone remember State of Grace (1990) where Harris played a cold mob boss? These guys save the movie, even if the story pushes its luck with logic and believability going into the second half.
Oh, and ManlyMovie favourite Nick Nolte shows up in a cool cameo. I mean, not particularly well written, but it’s Nick fuckin’ Nolte!