Running Scared

Review Date:
Director: Wayne Kramer
Writer: Wayne Kramer
Producers: Sammy Lee, Michael Pierce, Brett Ratner
Paul Walker as Joey
Vera Farmiga as Teresa
Chazz Palminteri as Rydell
A low-level gangster who hides guns for the mob after they’ve been used to whack people, doesn’t get rid of one such pistol adequately enough, and ends up having to chase it – and the kid who swiped it from him – around his seedy little town for the rest of the movie. A well-deserved R-rated crime flick ensues with plenty of violence for grown ups, as well as some T&A for the kids. Oh, and pedophilia, hockey pucks and a shot of Paul Walker’s ass for the messed up mofo in all of us!
Holy violence, Batman!! I don’t remember the last time that a movie went “all-out” on violence in this vein, but if films like TRUE ROMANCE and DOMINO are your sort of party favor, I see no reason why you wouldn’t have a blast watching this violent-laden hard-R sexual perversion of a Hollywood flick that is also surprisingly, entertaining and memorable in many ways. Credit writer/director Wayne Kramer (the same guy who wrote and directed the casino romance/drama THE COOLER?) with plenty for this one, as the film oozes in stylized direction, with its opening scene shootout providing an excellent sample of what’s to come with bullet Points-Of-View, guys flying through the air in slow-motion after being shot and plenty of blood, guts and quick-cuts for the whole family—if your family is a fucked-up set of fun-loving violent-seeking movie-lovers, that is. Credit Paul Walker as well, who shows up in every scene, and unlike his earlier “wooden acting” gigs, actually comes through as a dude caught up in and over his neck, and running, jumping, shooting and swearing his ass off in every single scene, with plenty of grit, shit and believability backing it all up.

Kudos also go out to the charismatic Vera Farmiga, who manages to inject a little femininity into the proceedings, and that’s despite starting out as your run-of-the-mill MILF with a deep caring for her kid and a great ass. She ultimately gets thrown into some of the violence herself, and takes part in one of the more memorable scenes from any movie over the past 12 months. I don’t want to give any of it away, but let’s just say that it involves pedophilia and hopefully that’s “enough said”, if you know what I mean. The surreal nature of that entire sequence was also complimented with another very memorable scene nearing the end of the film, featuring Walker, a bunch of mob bad guys with guns, a hockey rink, blacklight and ice-skaters with pucks ready to slapshot the shit out of someone’s face. Yet another classic scenario…bravo, Mr. Kramer! What didn’t really work for me? Well, I hate to say it, but…the kids. Not in terms of their acting per se, because both of the kids were pretty good (although the kid from GODSEND and BIRTH never seems to have any emotion on his face, no matter what happens!), but just having them around all the way through, including scenes featuring pimps, hookers, strippers, child abuse, profanity galore, violence super-galore, T&A&B and plenty of guns in faces and blood all around. It just made me feel uncomfortable to have them around all of that—kinda like watching a sex scene on the tube with your parents sitting around you, know what I mean?

The film’s ending also seemed to have 2-3 different conclusions, which ultimately turned out okay, but as it was switching from one to the other, I was sorta rolling my eyes in anticipation of the “real one” (the whole thing also runs close to 2 hours). It’s also overloaded with seedy characters and gritty parts of town, which some might find unbelievable, but I just saw as a real-life SIN CITY and rode along. All that said, if you enjoy your films violent, if you don’t mind hearing the word “fuck” inserted into every other line, if Paul Walker’s ass and sweet-looking face don’t bother you much and you love over-stylized gunshots and action sequences, RUNNING SCARED is likely to be one big ol’ kinetic romp of bloody fun that’ll have you pulling out the Kleenex and appreciating all over the place.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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