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Liam Neeson plays washed-up former hit man, Jimmy “the Gravedigger” Conlon in Jaume Collet-Serra‘s action thriller.

Myles Aronowitz/Myles Aronowitz

2.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Brad Ingelsby
Directed by
Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring
Liam Neeson, Ed Harris and Joel Kinnaman
Classification
14A
Language
English

In a role that has the familiarity of a middle-aged male bedtime story, Liam Neeson plays washed-up former hit man, Jimmy "the Gravedigger" Conlon, and the oh-so familiar Neeson menacing phone call goes out to his old boss, Shawn (Ed Harris): You endangered my family, you die.

Shawn has vowed to kill Jimmy's estranged son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman) in retaliation for the death of his own out-of-control punk son (Boyd Holbrook).

The action spins out over a Christmas Eve (alternative title: Violent Night?) across the New York boroughs, with Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop and Unknown), lavishes the story with whooshing aerial cameras and shadowy rat-warren interiors.

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An overqualified cast (including Vincent D'Onofrio and an uncredited Nick Nolte) brings more gravity than required to repeated "this is me staring you down" confrontations. Rapper Common (Selma) shows up as a modern high-tech hit man with his own Kevlar vest and night-vision goggles.

"He's a professional," Neeson's character warns his son, suggesting his own gravedigging career was more that of an enthusiastic amateur.

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