Running Scared movie poster
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Running Scared movie poster

Running Scared Movie Review

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Paul Walker, considered to be one of the most cardboard actors getting consistent work today, stars in "Running Scared," a brutal and unconventional crime thriller that some have compared to Tarantino pictures. While no where near as good or clever as a Tarantino picture, "Running Scared" certainly packs a punch, both in story and visuals.

Directed by "The Cooler" director Wayne Kramer, "Running Scared," according to the trippy credits (which you have to watch) is some kind of Grimm fairy tale or allusion to "Alice in Wonderland," though you wouldn't guess it from the movie itself. Walker stars as Joey Gazelle, a low-end mobster who is asked by his boss to take a gun used to kill a dirty cop and hide it where no one would find it. Most people would think of throwing it in a river, but Gazelle prefers to hide the gun in his basement. This makes no sense at all, but it sets the stage for the rest of the movie. When a quiet neighbor kid (Cameron Bright) sees Gazelle stashing the gun, he takes it and uses it to shoot his abusive stepfather, which means that the gun that Gazelle was supposed to keep hidden has now been used in an attempted murder. The kid goes on the run, and Gazelle sets out to find him and the gun before the cops do. Unfortunately, the men he works for is also on the lookout for the kid, as well as more dirty cops, sleazy pimps, pedophile murderers and a variety of other twisted characters.

"Running Scared" succeeds in its visual onslaught, as Kramer hits us up with impressive sequence after impressive sequence. His directing style always keeps you on edge, and you never what to expect. For instance, in a sequence where Bright's character gets captured by some creepy pedophiles, whenever you see their silhouettes they appear as demons.

Walker, who of course doesn't impress me but who at the same time has never annoyed me to the same extent as many others, turns in a decent performance here. Some say it is one of his best; I'd have to question that, but it is certainly his darkest and most out-of-character performance. He is pretty vulgar and nasty here, and yet creates a mildly likable anti-hero. Then again, if he had died I really wouldn't have cared.

"Running Scared" isn't perfect. The movie tries a little too hard to be edgy at times, and suffers from some pacing issues. It is inconsistent in its action and suspense, and the end result is a slightly choppy picture that could have benefited from some slimming down. Then again, I watched this movie late at night while really tired, so that probably had something to do with it.

All in all, "Running Scared" is a pretty entertaining and enjoyably violent film that marks yet another good movie from Kramer. Not perfect, but certainly worth a rental if you like your gore plentiful and red.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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