Sunday, March 05, 2006

Running Scared

Rating: B-

Here's usually the way this goes: Mike sees a trailer for a Paul Walker movie, Mike gets interested, Mike sees new Paul Walker movie, Mike terribly disappointed in movie and himself for falling for it yet again (see Too Fast Too Furious, Into the Blue, Joy Ride).

This time is different. Running Scared, the second big movie for The Cooler director Wayne Kramer, is actually not as bad as Walker's other attempts at film.

Running Scared follows Joey (Walker), a mob flunky who's main job it seems is to clean up evidence for his fellow mob buddies. As we find out, Joey actually just stashes all of it in his basement presumably for insurance down the road if anything was to go bad. Things are going relatively well in Joey's life with his wife, son, disabled father, and his meth cooking, wife and son abusing, John Wayne worshiping, Russian next door. It's the Russian son Oleg (creepy Cameron Bright) who snatches a particular chrome snub nosed pistol to blast his father. From there, the running begins. Oleg takes off with the gun, and Joey's gotta get it back or else he's gonna get it.

It's a good premise and could have lead to some great tension, but the movie never quite embraces a true suspense and a honest feeling of well, running scared. You want him to get the gun back, but there is never the sense of the baddies right on his trail and any moment he's about to get caught and has to worm out of situations leaving you wondering if he's gonna make it. Joey runs all over the place dealing with pimps, blow torch wielding mechanics, whacked out crack heads, and pedophiles.

Running Scared revels in it's violence, and there is plenty of it. Blood flows freely from just about everyone. Heads get blown off, ears bitten off, and the torture scene on a hockey rink is particulary flinch inducing. Walker does a decent job playing up his bad side in his frantic search for the missing gun.

Overall, it's not a great movie, but by Paul Walker standards, it's right up there near the top.


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