REVIEW: A WALK AMONG TOMBSTONES
SYNOPSIS: Based on Lawrence Block’s bestselling series of mystery novels, A Walk among the Tombstones stars Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, an ex-NYPD cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating just outside the law. When Scudder reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime…nor will it be the last. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the deviants through the backstreets of New York City before they kill again.
REVIEW: Director/Screen writer Scott Frank (The Wolverine, 2013) brings us this grittier and edgier 1970s style crime drama with Liam Neeson and some relatively unknowns, Dan Stevens (The Guest, 2014), Boyd Holbrook (Out of the Furnace, 2013), and Brian "Astro" Bradley (Bradley, many might remember as the highly received young talented rapper on the US season one finals of The X-Factor, as “Astro”).
“A Walk Among The Tombstones” is seemingly a throwback to the early nineties crime procedural thriller flick rather than the no-holds-barred, out-and-out action adventure, we’ve all come to embrace in today’s cinema. The flick is very much a well-mannered and leisurely paced old school crime thriller, with Neeson in top form as a cop whom knows his limitations, but whom will also go the extra mile when it comes to tackling a crime that he finds so offensive that it must be dealt with at all costs. His gruffly charisma and sheer physical presence mean that Scudder is an impressively mean and moody lead character, as one would expect from the Neeson action style.
Rightfully so, many comparisons may well be drawn with his Taken films’ lead character, though in this latest effort his grizzled detective character Matt Scudder is out walking the beat on the mean streets of New York trying to track down a kidnaped victim as a troubled and recovering alcoholic, rather than being away in some far away exotic landscape. And undeniably one could conclude that Scudder character possesses lots of similarities to Neeson’s cool-and-confident all-action hero from the Taken film series, as well.
It is nice seeing Liam Neeson playing an old-fashioned private eye with less martial arts action bashing the bad guys and more pavement pounding on the mean streets of New York. However, I believe this will hurt the film in the long run because it presents us with very little more than anything we’ve seen a million times over the years. As a result I’m afraid it will be a snoozer for many of the younger crowd. The storyline would have made a nice television series, but certainly not a blockbuster movie. I believe it deserves three out of five stars for mighty fine acting from excellent casting, but falls well short of being a great movie for theaters. This is most certainly a movie for a night on the couch with a beer and some friends.
By Movi-Man Stan
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Director: Scott Frank
Writer: Scott Frank, Lawrence Block
Genre: Action Crime
Duration: 1hr 53mins
Starring: Liam Neeson
Producer: Tobin Armbrust
Rating: R for strong violence, disturbing
images, language and brief nudity
Release Date: September 19, 2014
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