Running Scared

I intend to start reviewing 2012 oscar nominees after this :)


Running Scared
Has anyone ever eaten a burnt chocolate chip cookie? You know how, while eating it, you can taste how good it might have been, if it weren’t for the fact it was smoldering and ashen?That’s this movie.Another fine addition to the “Let’s see how much we can steal from Pulp fiction and not get sued” genre, “Running Scared,” for a while at least, actually seemed like it might be pretty good. Admittedly, it couldn’t compare with Pulp fiction, which transcends mortal art into something Holy, but it still seemed like it had potential. Then, everything went tumbling down into silliness. Staring some of the best B-list actors working for chicken feed today, the fancy camera work and fairy-tale cum gangster film plot can’t save this film from running out of the box office, tail between its legs.The movie begins with Joey gazelle (Paul Walker, an star whose only other major acting was the disappearing act he pulled after the film’s completion) driving a little boy named Oleg around in his car. Oleg is presumably dying, as he is covered in blood, and muttering something about his mom. We can’t know for sure, though, since the camera work looks like the opening to ‘reading rainbow.’Next we flashback to 18 hours earlier. At this point in time, two rival gangs, the mafia and the unspecified casualty gang, are trying to make a drug deal. All of a sudden, several masked men come and raid the deal. During the ensuing chaos, shooting starts, and the mobsters end up killing one of the robbers and all of the other gang members.This turns out to be not good, as these robbers are actually cops. The irony is not lost on me.The men who robbed the drug deal were police officers, lead by Inspector Rydell (Chazz Palminterri) Scared Rydell and his crooked cronies will try and nail them, Two of the mobsters give Joey gazelle the gun, telling him to get rid of it.Instead, Joey goes down to his basement, and puts the gun with a whole bunch of others that he’s been saving. You know, just in case the army of Khzakstan were to invade his house, it’s his second amendment right to defend himself with a bunch of dirty guns.However, Joey makes a grave mistake. He lets his son, and his Son's friend Oleg see where he stashes the pieces. Oleg, whose dad hits him because he doesn’t like John Wayne, decides to get revenge. He takes the gun, wounds his dad, and runs for it.The plot thickens when Rydell starts to blackmail the mobsters, demanding a huge sum. The head mobster is also making a deal with Oleg’s grandfather, a bigshot Russian mobster. When fingers start to be pointed at Joey, it’s up to him to retrieve the gun, save himself, and the life of the frightened Oleg.This movie looks like it might be good. Sometimes it even feels like it’s good. At some points, it is good. But problems quickly surface. The acting is weak on all counts, and the characters are two dimensional at best. Some of the twists are unnecessary and just plain stupid (namely, the final one at the end which mad me groan audibly.) It’s clear a lot was cut. Many times characters pursue a course of action without much reason for doing so, and lots of actions are confusing due to lack of explanation.That said… it ain’t terrible. Some of the dialogue, while hardly electrifying, is entertaining. The implausible action scenes are still pretty cool, and the odd creepy atmosphere is pretty well situated. It’s a nice popcorn flick, and not really much more than that. Doomed to be totally forgotten a week from when you see it. 7/10.  

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