Trying to explain the wildly accelerated plot of this non-stop action thriller would be like convincing Quentin Tarantino to retell the saga of The Sopranos in 15-minutes or less. Don't misunderstand, Running Scared wastes... more » little time on the nuanced details that make the violent, narratively precise, and intricately characterized world of The Sopranos so stylish and compelling. But boy, does it have style to spare, not to mention plenty of violence, narrative, and a cast of characters that all engage in a heady battle for your attention. Paul Walker has the unenviable task of fleshing out the role of a low-level mob flunky who's assigned to get rid of a gun that was involved in a bloody drug deal gone bad. When he botches even that little job, it's not just his wife who gets mad at him. Creepily threatened kids, put-upon women who save the day, and an array of pimps, hookers, sleazy gangsters and dirty cops straight ouuta central casting are all part of the intricate jumble of the story (not to mention bullet-time close-ups and a nifty scene that imparts the inherent danger of hockey pucks in a whole new light). It's hard to believe this outlandish piece of ultraviolence came from writer/director Wayne Kramer, the same creative mind that gave us the smooth little caper flick The Cooler. Don't think about that too hard though. Considering the madcap rush of Running Scared's wicked fun and inspired lunacy, you won't have the time to anyway. --Ted Fry« less
A. Sandoc | San Pablo, California United States | 02/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director Wayne Kramer's follow-up to his directorial debut (The Cooler) shows that he is a rising talent in Hollywood with a flair for drama and suspense that borders the line between reality and surrealism. Running Scared has such a gritty, washed out look right from the get-go that one starts to think it's a film lifted right out of the 70's. But that is only part of what Kramer does in creating a look and feel for Running Scared. Kramer actually uses every kind of trick in a director's book to give his film such an over-the-top sense that the audience really doesn't know what to expect just around the next dark corner.
Running Scared's first ten minutes sets up what the rest of the next two hours are going to be like. Kramer direct's this ten minutes like a man possessed. The direction and editing is frantic and frenetic. Some have said that it's all been done before by Tarantino, Woo and a dozen other action-stylists out of Hong Kong, but I disagree. Kramer's style owes alot more to the grandfather of excessive film violence and that's Sam Peckinpah. I'm not comparing Running Scared to Peckinpah's seminal classic The Wild Bunch but the pace and look of the chaotic shoot-out in the tiny apartment in the beginning brings to mind the opening and closing shoot-outs in that film. Kramer knows he's not making a social statement or even an intellectually relevant film. What he does know is that he wants to tell a fairy tale of one man's hectic day and all the craziness he has to go through during that day. And this is what Running Scared really has turned out to be. A fairy tale set in an modern, dank, urban landscape where our hero (though anti-hero is more like it) and the two kids in his life must travel a surreal place filled with mack-daddy pimps, hooker with a heart of gold, corrupt cops and even a pair of child pedophiles who also turn out to be husband and wife. Running Scared is a like Grimms fairy tale as seen and told in a modern setting.
The cast of actors Kramer has assembled all do a good job in populating this violent, profane modern fairy tale. I'd be the last to think that Paul Walker was an actor who had any talent, but his performance in Running Scared has given me pause to think that maybe its not him, but the projects he's been doing that's given him a bad reputation as an actor. Gone is the California surfer dude persona he seems to be saddled with in all his films. He actually inhabits the low-level mobster soldier he plays as Joey Gazelle. This film may not be his breakout performance but it will open up some eyes. The boy's got some skill he's never been able to show before. The other actor who makes a standout performance is one Cameron Bright who plays Oleg. The neighbor kid whose theft of a mob gun Joey is suppose to make disappear turns Joey's life upside down. Cameron's almost like Pinocchio in that its through him that we see all the crazy characters he runs across. It's a testament to Kramer's direction that he's able to get such good performances from Walker,Bright and the rest of the cast in a film that's as confusing, complicated and surreal as Running Scared.
Running Scared is a wonderful surprise of a film for 2006. It's an unabashed fun, thrilling urban fairy tale that goes for broke in everything it does. Wayne Kramer's direction shows that his very good work in filming The Cooler wasn't a fluke and one-time deal. This is a new director who has shown that he has the skills and talent to stay in the business. He's no Tarantino and surely not in the same league as Sam Peckinpah whose films this one owes alot to in style and feel, but he's making a name for himself as one who can do good work. Oh, Paul Walker does a good job in it as well. I highly recommend this to people who like their films to be fun, but at the same time to have some flash and style."
Running Scared takes you on one hell of an action packed thr
Porfie Medina | Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA | 06/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Running Scared is one of the most intense movies I have seen in some time. What I liked about Running Scared is that it kept my attention almost the entire time, and if a movie can do that to me it has to be a really good flick. I don't want to give the details of the movie away since many reviewes have done that, and I don't want to ruin it for those who have not seen it. I will say this movie is intense and throws some major stuff at you that makes you at times find it very hard to watch. The movie is filmed very different than most movies today and it has sort of a raw feel to it. Paul Walker does a truly amazing job in his performance and deserves an OSCAR or at least a Oscar nomination for his performance. That may sound far fetched to some doubters, but really he is that good. He shows when given great material he can be one hell of an actor. He truly embodies this character and to see him with this high stress level throughout the movie and be able to maintain it just makes me respect his acting more than I thought I ever could. TO be honest I am surprised the movie got an R rating and not a Unrated or NC-17 rating. The movie has more bad words than any movie I can remember in recent memory. As for the blood and violence there is quite a bit, but it is done with a purpose and not just for the sake of being violence. Check out running Scared if your in to movies that keep you on the edge of your seat, but better yet check it out if you like a good action packed movie!
One Nike gym bag
Schtinky | California | 09/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, what a movie. 'Running Scared' is not to be confused with the 80's movie by the same title starring Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. This is a completely different storyline, and there is no comedy involved whatsoever.
'Running Scared' is the tale of Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker), who handles weapons disposal for the illicit actions of his friends. But when a gun is used to eliminate a crooked cop, Joey treats it as casually as he treats all his charges, putting it in plastic and hiding it in his house. But this time, he is seen by his son Nicky and neighbor boy Oleg Yugorsky (Cameron Bright - The Butterfly Effect).
Oleg takes the gun and shoots his abusive stepfather Anzor (Expertly played by Karel Roden - The Bourne Supremacy, 15 Minutes, and Hellboy). Now, Joey not only has to find the gun, but protect Oleg and Nicky from being discovered by his mob connections, and still produce the gun for his benefactors.
This movie is a non-stop thriller, literally flowing from one tense moment to another without pause. It's definitely an "edge of your seat" movie. There doesn't seem to be one particular good guy in the entire film, everyone is seedy and foul of character. But when Joey's wife Teresa (Vera Farmiga - 15 Minutes, The Manchurian Candidate) confronts the child molesters, you will raise your hands above you head, clapping and cheering for the white trash woman.
Its not so much the shock level or any surprises that make this film so good as it is the tension level. The director managed to keep a high level of tension throughout the entire movie, which is a rare achievement. 'Running Scared' is a definite nail biter. Incredibly fast-paced, the tension makes the movie seem more graphic than it is. It's the intensity that will make you jumpy, not the graphics. It's worth a purchase. Enjoy! "
Didn't Expect This
Keith A. Jones | Philadelphia PA | 09/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Running Scared was one of those movies that I wanted to see but it slipped my mind cause the preview didn't hook me that much. When I saw it in the video store I had to grab it. The most surprising thing about this movie is Paul Walker, he is a mediocre actor if you ask me but in his defense he's been in a lot of teen flicks the past few years. In his most memorable role The Fast and the Furious he was outshined by Vin Diesel but Walker didn't put up much of a fight for best actor in that film. To get to the point Paul Walker showed his true potential in Running Scared. Not only was his character written very well but he played it right to perfection, you seriously forget he's Paul Walker and start to believe he's Joey Gazelle. The cinematography is amazing, it's very detailed and unique to give those violent scenes that extra something to keep you into it. There's a lot of slow motion, rewinds, and visual close ups to let the power really hit and effect you.
The story is about Joey Gazelle who is involved with the mob but his role with them isn't important until he messes up and lets a very important gun that was involved in the killing of some cops go missing. He then realizes that the gun is in the hands of his son's friend who is getting abused at home and is ready to do something about it. Of all the guns in that house the kid picks that one. Now you're in for a ride and your destination is wherever the gun is going and believe me the gun goes everywhere. The best part of Running Scared is the end when you're revealed the truth about everything including Paul Walker and why he really needs that gun. Everything about this movie is deceiving so don't be surprised if you think you have this film figured out and you realize you were completely wrong. Full of twists and crazy switches the cast follows perfectly and they don't let you down. It's very violent but I think I've seen worse so it shouldn't be anything to worry about."
A solid A
Avidfan | Florida | 12/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't go into details cause if I do then I will give out great parts of the film. Lets just say that if you like The sorpranos and loved The Departed then this is the film to see. Paul Walker finally gave a performance That I never thought he had in him. Here is my score card of this movie.
Violence: A Plot: A Acting: A Action: A
If you are in a need of one cool gangster film and are still wiating for The Departed. Then treat yourself with a nerve jolting film like this. "