Review: Running Scared

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  February 21, 2006 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

Director Wayne Kramer, who also directed the overly-brilliant The Cooler, returns to the grit of the underworld with his latest film Running Scared.

Paul Walker stars as Joey Gazelle, a low-ranked thug whose only job for the mob is to hide their guns after a hit so they can't be traced. One night, Joey's son's friend, Oleg (Cameron Bright), steals one of the hidden guns and shoots his abusive stepfather (John Noble).

A police investigation ensues and Joey tries to thwart the case by disturbing the evidence. Everything goes pretty well until Joey realizes that Oleg has escaped with the gun. The mob, the police, and now Joey are all after the same gun. Joey has to find the gun before the mob or his life and his family's could be forfeit. Can Joey do it in time?

The plot of the film is quite intense and the film has some really nice camera shots and some really well-photographed scenes. A lot of the interesting shots are done with interesting camera angles and first-person perspective, which gives the film a unique feel. The film's opening sequence is a lot of fun and reminded me some of the sequence from last year's Hostage.

I also have to say that I liked the performances of Paul Walker and Vera Farmigna, who played his wife. Both are very good in their roles. I remember Farmigna from the short-lived Fox series, Roar, from 1997, which starred Heath Ledger.

The problems I had with the film were the overly-graphic scenes, some plot angles that were completely ludicrous, and the film's length. This film goes on about 20-30 minutes to long.

One scene that I felt was absolutely ludicrous was a scene involving a pedophile couple who captures Oleg and plans to use him in an inappropriate video. It's sick, disturbing, and unnecessary. I was also quite appalled to see the often-brilliant actress Elizabeth Mitchell as the pedophile wife. I have to hand it to the actress, that's quite a departure.

I really liked the plot and the two leads, but it really needed some work on subplots, supporting characters, and length. (3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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