Two blue-eyed old lions come face-to-face in "Run All Night," starring Liam Neeson and Ed Harris as Irish mobsters locked in a fight to the death. Neeson's washed-up hit man, Jimmy Conlon, has killed the wayward son of Harris' kingpin, Shawn Maguire, who cannot let that stand. Faster than you can sing "Danny Boy," the bodies start piling up as Jimmy struggles to protect his own son.
Watching old friends turn murderous is always fun, and "Run All Night" makes the most of this sudsy setup, sandwiching gunplay and fistfights between thick slices of masculine pathos. (The script is by Brad Inglesby, of the similarly overwrought "Out of the Furnace.") This movie may not pack the genuine emotional punch of Michael Mann's "Heat" or James Mangold's "Cop Land" -- or, for that matter, any of the countless Westerns that inspired it -- but "Run All Night" is a mostly satisfying action-drama from director Jaume Collet-Serra, who made Neeson's "Non-Stop" such a guilty pleasure.
By now, surely few viewers care that Neeson's New York accent comes from old "Bowery Boys" movies or that, at 62, he's looking a little less limber. Neeson still has physical presence and gravitas, and we never doubt that his Jimmy can beat the brains out of a man half his age. Harris, too, gives good snarl, and the two actors are at their best when they simply glower at each over a drink in their favorite restaurant.
Joel Kinnaman, an intriguing Swedish actor (2014's "RoboCop"), plays Jimmy's estranged son, Michael, a hardworking family man who gets dragged into Jimmy's rotten world. Michael isn't much more than a McGuffin, but the father-son tension helps keep things interesting. Less effective is Common as Price, a high-tech assassin who eschews facial expressions. Rounding out the cast are Nick Nolte as Jimmy's brother, and Vincent D'Onofrio as -- what else? -- a police detective.
In this movie, whenever two men take a stroll down memory lane, one usually ends up killing the other. And because women don't understand the beautiful sorrow of it all, they haven't been cast in any important roles. If you like your testosterone matured and well-done, however, "Run All Night" will be just the ticket.