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Running Scared (R)

Release Date: February 24th, 2006 by New Line Cinema.
The Cast: Paul Walker, Cameron Bright, Vera Farmiga, Chazz Palminteri, Johnny Messner, Michael Cudlitz, Alex Neuberger, John Noble, David Warshofsky, Karl Roden.
Directed by Wayne Kramer.

BASIC PREMISE: Joey (Walker), a gang member, hunts down a special gun which his young son’s friend Oleg (Bright) stole from his basement.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: If non-stop violence and multiple uses of the f-word sounds like fun to you, then, by all means, you’ll get a big kick out of Running Scared . However, it fails to entertain everyone else who actually looks for an engaging, refreshing plot with interesting characters. The derivative plot involves corrupt cops (Palminteri), mobsters, pedophiles, and even a hooker—all for the sake of retrieving a sacred gun used in a mob hit. While in the basement with Joey’s young son Nicky (Neuberger), Oleg steals the gun, shoots his abusive father (Roden) next door, and runs away. From then on, Joey desperately searches for both Oleg and the gun. Soon, Oleg runs into trouble with two pedophiles who kidnap him. Vera Farmiga gives a convincing performance as Joey’s wife who ends up playing an important role in the plot. The real discovery here is the amazing Cameron Bright who plays Oleg—he’s a real screen presence. On the other hand, Paul Walker overacts to the point of being unconvincing. Add some nauseating camera work and excessive, gruesome violence and you get a very uncomfortable film that’s difficult to sit through. Writer/director Wayne Kramer leaves no room for subtlety or any room to breath for both its characters and the audience. Too much action, too many plot twists and lots of flashy editing comes across as pretentious. Ultimately, Running Scared is just a very loud, mean and forgettable gangster film with very little imagination.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Derivative plot with too much action.


IN A NUTSHELL: Excessively violent and mean-spirited with an unoriginal plot and nauseating cinematography.


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