Movie Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014 – Liam Neeson)

A Walk Among the Tombstones liam neeson movie still

A generic crime detective thriller that attempts to be carried to success by Taken star

Liam Neeson returns in yet another film about girls being taken and him go finding the bad guys. And yes, he does some bad ass phone conversations with the antagonists as well. Based on a 1992 novel, the film’s about a private detective who’s hired by a drug dealer to hunt down the people who brutally murdered his wife. During his investigation, he learns that it was not the first time that these cruel men have committed such crimes and left uncaught by the police. The story is set before the year 2000.

It must have been quite a stroll in the park for Neeson as he gets simply acting like he usually does in most of his movies, always looking old, wise, cool and depressed, handles things calmly and effectively, scaring bad guys on the phone. He plays a self-employed private detective named Matthew Scudder, who’s former cop with a dark past who was an alcoholic. Viewers will get to enjoy seeing him going around trying to solve the crimes with his traditional methods. It’s not the first time in recent years that Neeson’s played this type of character – Taken 2, Non-Stop, just to name a few – and like in those films, it needed Neeson to practically lead the entire movie to box office success. The screenplay for A Walk Among the Tombstones is just too ordinary for any one actor to carry. Well, unless, the plan was only to use Neeson to drive in the ticket sales, and care not if the people like it.

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There’s lack of depth, the plot doesn’t really thicken, and in the end, it actually doesn’t even seem like Scudder needed do anything too complicated in his investigation to find the sick baddies. One important witness was allowed to runaway and live, and yet the cops couldn’t solve the crimes after so long. Oh right, we need an outlaw private detective with a better than average instinct to do the job. A private detective with a client who happens to know the father of the next victim, and an African American orphan who aspires to be a detective. Ah, basically, I’m just not impressed at all with the Sherlock Holmes department of the film. If you’ve been watching the movies or reading novels of this genre, you won’t find this film inspiring. In fact, there isn’t even a single smart moment that hasn’t been done before.

There’s no development for the antagonists and the viewers are left with question marks on who these people are, what do they do and why are they like that. Are they desperately after the money or just insane? How are they related? No idea, guess they’re just bad guys for the hero to hunt. Also, there’s not enough screen time for them to show how scary they can be. So there’s that and as mentioned above, the protagonist doesn’t need to do much, and yet somehow the movie can feel very pointless dragged, especially the final act, perhaps all for the sake of making it an engaging cliched thriller with a bit of action for the general audience. Adding to that with a bit of humour is the African American orphan character named TJ, performed very well by Brian “Astro” Bradley (Earth to Echo), but still not enough to make the film memorable.

A Walk Among the Tombstones liam neeson meme

What I would’ve named the film: “Taken 3”

Censorship in Malaysia: Didn’t notice any awkward skips during the media screening. Glimpses of women’s nipple, full body nude art painting, violence and vulgarities were uncensored.

Second opinion: My girlfriend said, “I kind of liked it but it felt like the movie was never going to end.”

Verdict: Watch it only if you’re a fan of Liam Neeson or typical crime detective thrillers. It would’ve been better if it was a point-and-click adventure game like Broken Sword.

Rating: 2 / 5

A Walk Among The Tombstones malaysia movie poster gscBased on: Lawrence Block’s 1992 novel “A Walk Among the Tombstone”

Genre: Action / Crime / Drama
Running Time: 114 minutes
Director-screenwriter: Scott Frank
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ruth Wilson, Dan Stevens

Malaysia Release Date: 18 September 2014
Rated: 18
Local Distributor: GSC Movies
Production: Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media, Endgame Entertainment, Jersey Films, Double Feature Films

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