Flash Movie Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

It is important to have a comfortable setting. Location is a priority for some while comfort is a necessity for others. Once you are in your perfect place a calmness comes over you like an old comfy sweater; all that is left is for the movie to begin. The opening scene rolls onto the screen and there is a twinge of excitement as you are prepared to be taken on a journey by the film’s story. A short time passed and that hopeful, emotional expectation dimmed as it took its last breath of light and you realized something was not right. You were reacting to the film, there was something familiar about it. There was a moment where you quickly wondered if you had seen the film before and had spaced out about it. As it turned out you did not see the picture before, but the film studio just used the same formula that was successful for the main star in a prior movie. This left you feeling unsatisfied to the point of feeling cheated. It was like craving your favorite chocolate wafer sandwich cookie only to find the grocery store was out and only had a cheap knockoff–it was not the same.    TOUGH, fearless, confident and tall; this seemed the niche Liam Neeson (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Non-Stop) was gravitating to as he played private investigator Matt Scudder. When drug trafficker Kenny Kristo, played by Dan Stevens (The Fifth Estate, Downton Abbey-TV), asked the private investigator to find the men who killed his wife, Matt initially refused. It wasn’t until he heard how the wife died that he agreed to take on the case. I found this crime drama to be for the most part standard fare. It came across as a formulaic vehicle for Liam to go through the motions, having done this type of role a few times already. There was the “bad guys” who in this case had a real ick factor; the young streetwise innocent TJ, played by Brian “Astro” Bradley (Earth to Echo, The X Factor-TV) and a script that tried to have Liam deliver lines that would become iconic sayings for the movie goer. At least I was not completely bored thanks to the several scenes that were well directed to deliver tense excitement. The first time Liam took on the role of a middle-aged tough guy it was different and fresh. The second time it lost some of it luster and was not as exciting to watch. By now all I wanted to say to Liam was, “It is enough already.” If this is the first time you are seeing a Liam Neeson film then you might enjoy this movie; if not, then you may feel as if you had seen this all before. There were scenes of violence and blood.

 

2 stars

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About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on September 23, 2014, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I love Liam Neeson..no matter what!! 🙂
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Sir, you do us a service by writing these reviews. I thank you

  3. Lawrence Block is one of my favorite authors , he wrote 17 books on the main character Mathew Scudder a former NYPD officer and a recovering alcoholic . I was really looking forward to this movie and the series . I will still see this movie because of the book . But disappointed with how Hollywood chose the almighty money making star and director to get their return on investment vs. Taking a bit of a risk and going with a less known actor and director with a focus on the great book and making the movie a taunt, gritty experience . It could have been a great series .

    BTW Neeson just finished the third Taken movie , how many of these can he do ? He has a choice in the work that he does as an artist”and he’s a pretty good actor but enough is enough Neeson do something that will challenge your acting skills .

    • As I mentioned on Facebook, I had no idea this was based on a book. I can now see where people would be extra upset seeing this film if they already read the book. Thanks for your comments.

  4. He’s taken the role of Harisson Ford. I guess he’s a bit younger than Ford.

  5. Neeson is definitely in a rinse, recycle, repeat phase. Didn’t he say he was retiring? I guess phoning in the same performance for every movie is his retirement with an income.

  6. Taken 3 …seriously!!
    O mannn,,Thank you

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I am a Liam Neeson fan and have loved some of his earlier films. I still go to see them and I agree that there is a feel of formula about them. Having said that the large publishers do the same with their top authors and I think it is about the studios working a theme to death. My 91 year old father-in- law is however waiting eagerly for Taken 3 so that does count for something…great review thanks.

    • Thank you so much for coming by to leave your comments. And an extra shout out to your father-in-law, a true movie lover in my book. I hope at that age I can still make it out to the movies. If you see this film, I would enjoy hearing your comments. Thanks again.

  8. monocochlearmutineer

    I think the phrase “There were scenes of violence and blood” should become some kind of code for any movie where formula, actor’s retirement funds and/or CGI pyrotechnics take precedence over plot or originality. I place Scarlet Johansson’s latest flick ‘Lucy’ firmly in this category.

    • Omg, I love the idea for some sort of code. The way some actors are just phoning in their performances, the code could be as simple as typing Adam Sandler or Liam Neeson. Thanks for the comments.

  9. It actually looks like a pretty good movie – and Liam is a pretty good actor – but, because I read and loved the early Scudder novels I am pretty sure that I would be disappointed by this flick. Which is a shame, because Liam has all of the proper emotional gravitas that this particular role requires – but they way they are spinning does not compute.

    Scudder – the character – originally was a recovering alcoholic ex-cop. He was always more of a thinker and a player and a bit of a walking, talking mind-blower on two legs. He was NOT an action-driven character. He wasn’t leaping over cars or dodging machine gun bullets or using hand grenades as disposable GPS’s as Liam Neeson’s latest characters seem to all do.

    It is too bad that Liam Neeson has gone down this road. He’s working his gig and I respect him for that but I remember the way his early performances had sent chills through my spine and sunk voodoo-needles down into my bones. The man could deliver, the man act – now, as you say, he is mostly phoning it in for the sake of the pay check.

    The funny thing is Lawrence Block, last I heard, is still working his Scudder gig – turning out novel after novel. I loved his early Scudder, but his later books have left me a little cold. I guess that is the nature of creativity. Sooner or later the well runs dry and the artist dies a little inside and the accountant takes over and says – okay, you’ve got to go and put in one more shift at the salt mines.

    That’s creative entropy, I guess.

    Even the best of wine eventually turns to piss.

    • I cannot tell you how appreciative I am that you gave me a breakdown of the books compared to the movie. It is a shame that creativity takes a back seat sometimes to the paycheck; but like you said, I respect it. People do what they need to do. If I ever get the time I would like to check out the book to get a flavor for the Scudder in the books. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your comments.

  10. I really like Liam Neeson and have enjoyed all of his movies I have seen up to and through “Taken”. I did not care for “Taken 2” and do not plan to watch “Taken 3”. It may just be me but some of the movies now with great actors in them for the most part to me are disappointing. I don’t know how to explain what I want to say…maybe this will do it. The great actors seem overly talented for the movies they are in and have to tone down their acting ability to fit into the script. I think we need better movies for the great actors to star in. I really do like your site and I am so glad you came by mine so I could know about yours.

    • I understand what you are saying and my take on it is the stars have talent but the movie studio is more concerned about the bottom line. They depend too much on their marketing department instead of their creative team. Once again thanks so much for your comments.

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