‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’ Mostly Thrills (Movie Review)

A Walk Among The TombstonesA Walk Among The Tombstones movie trailer could initially fool someone into thinking they should be expecting Taken 3.  The trailer for A Walk Among The Tombstones shares some of the similar DNA to Taken with the same leading man, Liam Neeson, as well as familiar plot devices such as a tape recorder.  However, the cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” by Nouela (it can be heard here) reminds us that this is a much more darker and grizzlier crime drama tale than the Taken films.  It’s also based on a novel by Lawrence Block of the same name, and believe it or not, once upon a time in 2002 Harrison Ford was attached to star.  So I honestly don’t feel tooted now that my movie has been in development for some three years now, but I digress.

In addition to Liam, A Walk Among The Tombstones stars Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, Ruth Wilson and Sebastian Roche.  Scott Frank adapted the screenplay and also serves as director here where we find our protagonist (Neeson), a former NYPD cop, as a private investigator hired by a drug dealer (Stevens) to find his kidnapped wife in New York City.  Now I don’t know about you, but if you checked out that trailer I have embedded down below I kind of got an 8mm vibe from it.  What about you?  Regardless, I’m here to tell you how it really goes down below.

A Walk Among The Tombstones

So the story goes a little something like this and takes place right before Y2K in 1999.  Stop me if you heard this before.  A Walk Among The Tombstones opens with our protagonist, Matthew Scudder, who’s a cop.  He has a drinking problem.  His life is in shambles.  He’s also in the wrong place at the wrong time soaking in his sorrows at a bar which pretty much serves alcohol to cops on the house.  How do you like that?  As fate would have it the bartender is shot and Scudder chases down the three attackers in the streets of NYC, killing two of them and wounding the third.  But wait!  That’s not all.  All actions have equal reactions and Scudder is no exception to the rule.  In the firefight a bullet took a bad bounced and yep, you guessed it.  It nailed a kid, fatally wounding her.  This sent Scudder’s already crazy life spiraling out of control.   Something had to give.  And it did!

Scudder does what all abusers must do in life to turn around their lives.  He sought help via the world of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Now this again sounds like nothing new story-wise here, but I do love how the filmmakers piggybacked off this 12-step program and used its principles to guide Scudder’s actions throughout the film.  While A Walk Among The Tombstones doesn’t break any new grounds in the genre, I was right about one thing, and ultimately wrong about another.  It does dive into deeper territory than the subject matter in Neeson’s Taken films.  While it wasn’t quite to the extent of how 8mm unfolded, it was completely opposite of Taken.  Liam Neeson’s character was not a bad a$$ in this movie.  Let me say that again.  He was not a bad a$$.  Sure he may walk the walk and talk all the talk.  He sounded intimidating and threatening, but truth be told he got his a$$ handed to him a couple of times and even managed to accidentally fall down a flight of stairs.  I have to admit.  I felt quite embarrassed for my Jedi Master.  It was uncomfortable to see him this way, but somewhat refreshing in an awkward Blue Ruin type of way (hoping that makes sense).

A Walk Among The Tombstones

The friendship between Scudder and that of this homeless boy he meets in the library, TJ, seemed forced and unnatural.  At least to me it did.  I suppose you need that tag team sort of character structure and relationship in a picture like this, but the chemistry just wasn’t there for me.  However, TJ serves a purpose to the story.  There is no love interest in this film for Neeson, so TJ kind of represents a silver lining to Scudder for a chance to do something right in life, not just for himself, but to better that of another.  That much I can appreciate.  But here’s the deal folks.  Anyone going into this thinking they are going to see the next iteration of a Taken style film will leave severely disappointed.  This is not an action thriller.  There are some tense and action filled moments, but for the most part this a murder mystery to attempt to discover and track down the men responsible for killing various women that all seem to be connected in some way.  Yes, I said women.  The trailer already spoils the fact that this isn’t the first time this has happened so I’m not dropping anything that you wouldn’t already know going into this one.

Being a lover of the crime genre, what I most appreciated about this film was just seeing Scudder go through all the motions trying to reconnect the dots to everything that went down in the past to discover who the killers are.  While it got quite tense at times, I wouldn’t go on record by applauding this as the greatest in its genre.  I would say its mediocre at best.  However, mediocre is not always a bad thing.  It enables me to comfortably recommend this one as a solid rental upon home video release and maybe defend this one theatrically as a matinee bargain only.  I can understand the need to see it because there are a lot of Neeson fans out there and not much else playing in the theater this weekend unless you want to see Guardians of the Galaxy like me for a fourth time.  However, there are some inherent flaws in this one.  My girlfriend criticized the special effects saying a table broke before the actor was even thrown into it, etc.  While I did not notice that I did grow a bit weary a couple times by the lack of anything going on.  I guess I secretly wanted this to go darker and more disturbing like the title of the film visually paints in your mind, but for an R-rating they played it very safe here.  Who knows?  Maybe there’s an unrated cut lying around somewhere.  I would revisit it for that.  So all in all, A Walk Among The Tombstones is a solid crime flick (think TV’s Criminal Minds), but one I ultimately recommend checking out at matinee pricing if you have your heart set on seeing it.  I would hate for you to have to pony up some thirty or more dollars on a date and leave unfulfilled, should that happen.  Whatever your play is…enjoy it and make it a good one!

A Walk Among The Tombstones

Opens Everywhere In Theaters Today!

A Walk Among The Tombstones


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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