Publicity Stills of "Running Scared"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Action/Thriller
Director: Wayne Kramer
Starring: Paul Walker, Chazz Palminteri, Wayne Brady, Vera Farmiga, Johnny Messner
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: R21(Coarse Language and Violence)

Official Website: http://www.runningscaredthemovie.com

Opening Day: 23 March 2006

Synopsis :

Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) is a low level mob flunkie whose role is to dispose of "hot" guns from mob killings... until two 10-year-old boys get their hands on a mob gun with which a cop was shot. Then all hell break loose…

Movie Review:

Are you in the mood for a lot of blood, gore, violence and action with a lot of really offensive language? If you’ve answered yes to all of the above, then you will probably like Running Scared.

A bizarre action flick reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction minus the clever dialogue, the story has an unhealthy overdose of shady characters comprising of drug dealers and addicts, hookers, ruthless mobsters, a wife beater, a creepy pedophile couple, dirty cops and one really cheesy pimp. Basically this gritty and dark movie puts New Jersey in a very, very bad light. Not having ever been to Brooklyn, New Jersey, I really hope that this is just an over-the-top exaggeration of the city.

Starring Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame, Walker tries valiantly to shed his pretty boy image to play a low level mob flunky, Joey Gazelle. Joey is given the job to dispose of two guns used to kill two dirty cops in a drug deal gone wrong. Instead of getting rid of the evidence, he hides the guns in his basement where his son and his neighbour’s kid, Oleg, are hiding.

Moments later, shots are fired next door and when stray bullets hit the Gazelle household, Joey goes over to find Oleg’s abusive stepfather shot in the shoulder, and the kid on the run. This sets loose a chain of events and Joey must find the kid and the gun to try and stop things from getting any worse than they already are.

In director Wayne Kramer’s efforts to be visually stylish, there are several special effects used in the action scenes that are very CSI-like. Cleverly using time wrapping to slow down and reverse sequences, it does make it interesting, although not very original. On the flipside, some people will find it intrusive and out of sync with the whole feel and look of the entire movie.

In terms of pacing and plotline, the movie opens with a violent and bloody scene, but then things go out of point when instead of continuing with the story, there is a mini sex scene out of nowhere that involves Joey and his wife in the laundry room with the door open. It was a pointless scene that only made to prove what kind of lousy parents they were, considering their kid and his friend are just somewhere nearby in the same house. Thankfully, things get back on track as we reach the middle - filled with twists and turns, speeding up as we head toward the end.

The characters are mostly very 2D and it is a bit difficult to feel for both wife and husband, even though they are suppose to be good guys (compared to all the other scum), because they have some really serious character flaws. One clear example is the wife feeling little remorse after she kills two people.

Questionable characters aside, the two actors that really stand out are Vera Farmiga, who play’s Joey’s wife, Teresa and Cameron Bright who plays Oleg, the kid with the gun. These two actors easily outshine Paul Walker, and their acting is superbly done, even though their characters are somewhat stereotypical.

Overall, if you can look past the violence and some nudity, it isn’t all that bad for an action movie.

Movie Rating:

(A violent movie with interesting twists throughout the story, get prepared for one really wild ride)

Review by Jolene Tan

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