Director: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Liam Neeson has trained Batman in Batman Begins and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. He has been both Zeus in Wrath of the Titans and Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia making him a God in at least two religions. Basically, Neeson is one BAD man that you should not mess with. Now, Neeson teams up with director Scott Frank and brings his bad-ass persona to his latest film, A Walk Among the Tombstones. Frank is taking a second jab at directing after his first feature film, The Lookout, won 'Best First Feature' at the Independent Spirit Awards. The Lookout was also nominated because of it’s amazing casting. The casting was also on point for A Walk Among the Tombstones considering Liam Neeson being the lead role in this film. But this time around Neeson might not be the viewer's favorite character but as of the 19th his biggest blunder was still making the Taken franchise one movie too long.
A heroin trafficker whose wife was abducted and murdered hires a haunted private investigator to track down the men who killed her in this brooding crime drama starring Liam Neeson. Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) was an NYPD cop having a quiet drink in a Washington Heights bar when a pair of armed robbers came in guns blazing. Giving chase, Scudder kills the robbers in the street, though a stray bullet turns a heroic moment tragic. Devastated, Scudder subsequently goes to work as an unlicensed private detective, working just outside of the law and surviving on generous gifts offered in exchange for his services. Now, tasked with rooting out the sadistic thugs who brutally murdered the wife of a wealthy drug dealer (Dan Stevens), Scudder scours the bars and back alleys of New York City in search of his elusive targets -- and the closer he gets, the more apparent it becomes that they are something much more sinister than your typical kidnappers.
A Walk Among the Tombstones is based on a novel written by Lawrence Block and according to Lawrence Block's website, Neeson almost walked away from the film after reading a particular scene. Let's thank the movie gods that he didn't because the fans would have been removed from an opportunity to see a good film and potentially a future franchise starter. The plot might sound familiar to Taken, we have a retired agent/cop looking for answers to who a female's kidnappers are and where they might be. In Taken, Neeson's character had an emotional attachment to the case and he wasn't going to stop until he got what he wanted. In Neeson's latest film, he has zero emotional attachment, actually, he denied picking up the case and almost quit the case later. He doesn't care if he doesn't succeed. Neeson's latest character doesn't pack heat this time around and uses his words to get himself out of sticky situations rather than violence, all while fighting past nightmares that remains to haunt him. Neeson delivers in this role and you feel like you’re working the case with him along the way.
The true star in this film is X-Factor's Astro who plays TJ, a homeless teen who helps Scudder catch up on technology while hoping he can become his apprentice and one day be a detective himself. He delivers the comic relief that the film needed and you also grow a connection for TJ as you learn more about his life and his everyday struggles.
These character shine but very little has to do with the script. Frank and the script writers put very little into character development or giving any depth about our characters at all. We have to wait almost two-thirds of the film to finally find out about Scudder's dark past and what led him to retirement and like of sobriety. Our killers, we get to see some sick shit from them, but their motives? Their past? Never revealed. We are left in the dark, just like the setting of the film.
Now, will A Walk Among the Tombstones
be successful enough to kick start a franchise? Overall, the film is something you should definitely go out and add to your collection. But with the lack of violence and action, what fans love to see from Neeson, it doesn't drive myself at least to be excited for future films. I mean, I have not read any of the books so I do not know how much violence and action are incorporated in the other novels but if they have the same tone, I can see this being a franchise I get tired of after the third go around at max. When it comes to other serial-killer thriller films, A Walk Among the Tombstones
does not stand out from the rest. I was huge on A Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
and that franchise has yet to see a second film. But don't let that discourage you from seeing the film as it is a good one.
Labels: 2014, Astro, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, DVD, Liam Neeson, Movie Review, Scott Frank