Sunday, 21 August 2011

Film Review: RUNNING SCARED (2006)

RunningScared_poster Writer/Director: Wayne Kramer
Running time: 122 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 6th January 2006

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 21st August 2011.


Now, a friend of mine, who has steered me wrong in the past, recommended this one. I am always wary of his recommendations, particularly when it’s a film I’ve never heard of before. It was only because he was most insistent that I put this one in the planner and, for the most part, it was just about ok. Don’t get me wrong, there are many many things wrong with it, but, as a piece of entertainment, it was ok (just). I’ll give you my reasons after this brief summary.

2006_running_scared_002 A drug deal is going down when some masked dirty cops interrupt it. A shoot-out ensues in which several of the cops are killed. Hoodlum, Joey Gazelle, is given the task of disposing of some of the guns used in the shooting. He decides, however, to stash them in his basement as ‘insurance’, or so he tells his wife, Teresa. Their son, Nicky, was playing with his friend Oleg, who lives next door, when they see where Joey hid the guns. Oleg’s step-father, Anzor, is an abusive Meth addict with a John Wayne fixation. When, later that evening, shots are heard from next door, Joey goes round to find Anzor shot and Oleg nowhere to be seen. Fearing the worst, he rushes back home to find one of the guns missing. It’s now a race against time, Joey has to find the boy and the gun before either his fellow gangsters, or the cops, do. If either of them beat him to it, he’s sunk. I’ll leave it here so as not to enrage the Spoiler Police… I’ve spent too much time in the cells recently.

cameron_bright3 Quite a well made film with very much a comic book/graphic novel feel to the storytelling. This is achieved with the use of some nice CGI work and some interesting camera angles. The performances were all pretty good, although a little too much ‘over the top’ at times. Paul Walker was OK as Joey Gazelle and Vera Farmiga also did a good job as Teresa, his wife. The young Cameron Bright was excellent as Oleg Yugorsky, as was Chazz Palminteri as the sleazy Detective Rydell.

725_5 As I said at the beginning, there are many things wrong with this film, first of all, its way too long. Secondly, the plot is far too complicated, I know we are supposed to suspend reality, but there are limits; it got so convoluted and brought in so many peripheral characters that I was beginning to think I was watching cheap rip off of ‘The Sopranos’. I couldn’t sympathise with any of the characters, we’re supposed to care about a hoodlum just because he has a wife and son… I don’t think so. There is, however a nice twist at the end which, they, again try to mess up by dragging it out way too long. There were one or two points I did like about it though, but these were few and far between. I would have definitely scored it higher if it wasn’t for the appalling ending.

My Score: 5.5/10.

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 45,106 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40/100 (based on 129 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

running-scared-20050927110513817-000 LINKS:
Official Site:

1 comment:

Film Intel said...

I think this is an under-rated gem personally. It ticks several of my boxes; it's fairly gritty, it goes to some uncomfortable and unpredictable places, it's got a plot that turns all over the place, the action sequences are well shot and its got Vera Famiga. Big ticks all round.