Widescreen Review - 06/01/2006
"[P]lenty of blood and shooting keep the suspense high and move this story along all the way to its gritty end."
Not the 1986 Billy Crystal-Gregory Himes buddy cop movie of the same name, 2006's RUNNING SCARED is writer/director Wayne Kramer's (THE COOLER) take on the violent gangster crime genre. Paul Walker (THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS) plays Joey Gazelle, a low-level Mafia thug who finds himself in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong, with a hail of gunfire and some dead undercover cops as the net result. Fleeing from the scene, Joey is charged with getting rid of one of the steel snub-nosed revolvers used to kill the cops. Instead, he stashes the gun in his own basement, just in case he ever needs insurance against his own gang. Unfortunately, Joey's 10-year-old son, Nicky (Alex Neuberger), and his best friend, Oleg (Cameron Bright), see where the weapon is hidden. Oleg, whose Russian mob-connected stepfather is physically abusive towards him and his mother, steals the gun to exact revenge. Shooting his father in the shoulder, he runs away with the "hot" gun. This forces Joey to embark on a nightmarish 18-hour journey to locate Oleg and the gun before his own gang, the Russian Mafia, or bad cop Detective Rydell (Chazz Palminteri) finds them or the true link between the gun and the crimes. In a film dedicated to directors Sam Peckinpah, Walter Hill, and Brian De Palma in the closing credits, Kramer splatters the screen with a level of violence that would make those masters proud. Drained of bright colors, stylish, and feverishly fast-paced, RUNNING SCARED is one bloody thrill-ride.
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