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A Walk Among the Tombstones

Year: 2014
Production Co: 1984 Private Defense Contractors
Director: Scott Frank
Producer: Adi Shankar
Writer: Scott Frank/Lawrence Block
Cast: Liam Neeson

There's an uncomfortable truth in the oft-commented upon new phase of Liam Neeson's career as the action hero for the 21st century. So far, the movies he's appeared in that have cemented that reputation (the Taken franchise, The Grey, Non-Stop and beyond) have been mildly amusing at one end of the scale and completely sucked at the other.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is another one from the latter camp. For reasons that are never explained and don't seem to serve any purpose, the movie is set in 1999, and the few references to the looming Y2K bug have absolutely no bearing on the story.

No, that's not completely true. They give hero former cop Matt (Neeson) the opportunity to befriend a smart street kid who becomes a stupid little Robin cypher to his old school Batman. The relationship is so hackneyed and forced they might as well skip hand in hand through a field of meadows.

The story opens in 1991 when Matt stops a robbery in a local bar frequented by cops, the fast forwards a decade or so to him now making a living as a grizzled private detective. A drug kingpin hires him to find out who kidnapped and murdered the kingpin's wife, and it's a job Matt can hardly refuse.

The mystery doesn't seem to be anything more deep than a couple of psychotic serial killers who are apparently going to kill again, and Neeson is interchangeable with the other characters he always plays who've faced kidnappers, terrorists and wolves.

There's just nothing to make it stand out as a thriller or an action movie. The cast is overcrowded, the action's limp, the characters are tosh and the mood and aesthetic are built around the same jaded Noo Yawk lawman's world archetype you've seen a million times

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