A Walk Among the Tombstones Review
A Walk Among Tombstones is much like many of Liam Neeson’s action movies with a smidgen of other genres infused.
It’s 1999 and retired cop Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) seems to spend most of his time attending AA meetings; the rest of his time is reserved doing “favors” for people in exchange for “gifts”. After reluctantly agreeing to find the men who kidnapped and killed a heroin trafficker’s wife, Scudder recruits the help of a homeless teenager and spends two hours tracking down ‘weirdos’ until he’s found the bad guys. Sound vaguely familiar? You’ve either read Lawrence Block’s bestselling series of mystery novels or simply seen any of Neeson’s films from the past five years.
Most of the action in Tombstones is reserved for the end; with a few minute-long fight scenes dispersed throughout. As for suspense, there isn’t much build up since we discover who the killers are in the first 30 minutes and figure out how they choose their targets even faster. The rest of the movie is about when Scudder will get the bad guys and why they’re on a kidnapping and killing spree anyway. Spoiler alert – we never find out the why but the killers get sicker and sicker as the story progresses.
Though we’ve solved the mystery early on, there are still a few gems worth sticking around to see. For an action-filled horror story you’ll laugh more than you expect and not only at the juxtaposition of the well-read, conscious teen artist next to a dour tech-illiterate middle aged man.
While Tombstones is cautious to ration the suspense, action and humor, it’s not shy about its view on women. There are no female main characters – they’re all either dead or nameless. When we do encounter a woman she’s either sobbing in a flashback scene or speaking all of 20 words. Not very progressive.
Tombstones has its holes, like an unnecessary awkward flashback of a future victim and TJ’s use of slang words that have no place in 1999 South Brooklyn, but even without keeping you on the edge of your seat the film manages to hold your interest. Each actor nails their role including Mark Consuelo who usually cast as a heartthrob, is somewhat convincing as a successful drug trafficker. The script seems to translate well from book to film, although there are scenes that could have been edited differently or omitted altogether. Equal parts adventure and thriller with a dash of drama and pinch of humor, A Walk Among Tombstones is best for viewers who are new to either genre.