A Walk Among The Tombstones – It’s Taken All Over Again – Review

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Photo Courtesy Universal

You better watch out, because when Liam Neeson shows up in a movie, something is going to be taken!

When he plays an air marshal, the plane gets taken.

When he plays a father, the daughter gets taken.

If he played a dude who works at the doughnut shop, a doughnut would be taken (probably by me).

In this one, set in 1999, Neeson plays former police officer turned unlicensed private detective, Matt Scudder.  A recovering alcoholic with a dark secret about why he left the force, Matt attends his meetings regularly and tries to make it through each day, but the next few are going to be tougher than the rest.

One of his AA buddies, Howie (Eric Nelsen), has been sent to hire Matt because Howie’s brother, Kenny (Dan Stevens), is a big time drug trafficker who wants revenge after his wife has been TAKEN!!!!

Kenny wants the men who kidnapped and killed her, even though he paid the ransom.  Our tarnished, tragic hero (haunted by that secret) really wants out of this job, but Matt starts digging around and finds something quite nefarious is going on.

Will Matt capture the kidnappers before they strike again?

Writer/director Scott Frank (based on the novel by Lawrence Block) does a wonderful job making A Walk Among The Tombstones a movie all about the atmosphere, and duplicating all of those Taken scenes Neeson has become known for these days.  Then, it kind of goes off the rails.

Frank gets to start with a great character and mystery that both draw in the audience.  Matt is complicated in all of the right ways and finds too many moments to show his basic decency (we kind of get it after a while), but, ultimately, he is driven by the proper motives when he starts to realize how heinous these kidnappers are and what they are doing.  Yes, it’s his chance at redemption.

At this point, Neeson could perform this character in his sleep, but delivers all of the requisite anger, complete with some menacing back and forth with our villains.  I can’t think of an actor who is better at portraying morally righteous annoyance better than Neeson, so he might as well keep on keeping on.

However, A Walk Among The Tombstones becomes too crowded.  Frank gives Matt too many scenes with a young character who is pointless and feels inserted for the primary reason of helping advance a sticky plot point later in the movie.

Then, we get a few scenes too many, and the ending becomes too artsy.  Frank tries to weave together some basic principals Matt holds dear with his actions during the first climax (that’s right, we get multiple climaxes in this movie), which feels overdone, but I could have lived with it if this was the real ending of the movie.

No, we get a few more twists and turns that aren’t needed and our bad guys become too comical.

A Walk Among The Tombstones is good enough.

2_5waffles_sml2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

A Walk Among The Tombstones is rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity.

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2 comments

  • empresstrudy

    This time they took his dog, his car keys and his iPhone charger. And if he has to find them, he will kill them.

  • Susu.ro

    The chances are you want to watch this movie because of Liam Neeson, who’s popularity skyrocketed the last 4-5 years because of such movies as Taken and Taken 2.

    Well, Neeson is the only reason that this movie doesn’t suck entirely.

    In this movie he is a traumatized ex-cop who hunts down a couple of psychopath killers. The pace of the movie is pretty slow. Don’t expect Taken-like scenes in this one. No big surprises script-wise either. Pretty much standard stuff.

    The music could be more suitable for a haunted house horror film, and although there are some scenes in a cemetery the title is misleading.

    The narrative is somehow difficult to grasp. There aren’t constant flashbacks as in other movies but for the first half of the movie many viewers are confused about the timeline of some events.

    Also the movie is rather long. This simple premise could have been resolved in far less time than its 1h:54m running time.

    Check it out only if you are a hardcore Liam Neeson fan.