Thursday, March 24, 2016

Running Scared (2006)

Number Rolled: 90
Movie Name/Year: Running Scared (2006)
Tagline: Every bullet leaves a trail.
Genre: Action
Length: 121 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Media 8 Entertainment, True Grit Productions, VIP 1 Medienfonds, VIP 2 Medienfonds, MDP Filmproduktion, International Production Company, Pierce/Williams Entertainment, Zero Gravity Management
Producer: Tony Grazia, Andreas Grosch, Stewart Hall, Sammy Lee, Matt Luber, Andrew Pfeffer, Michae A. Pierce, Brett Retner, Andreas Schmid, Kevan Van Thompson, Jeff G. Waxman
Director: Wayne Kramer
Writer: Wayne Kramer
Actors: Paul Walker, Cameron Bright, Vera Farmiga, Chazz Palminteri, Karel Roden, Johnny Messner, Ivana Milicevic, Alex Neuberger, Michael Cudlitz, Bruce Altman, Elizabeth Mitchell, Arthur J. Nascarella, John Noble, Idalis DeLeon, David Warshofsky, Jim Tooey, Thomas Rosales Jr., Jan Kohout

Blurb from Netflix: Low-level mobster Joey Gazelle is tasked with disposing of a gun. But when it’s stolen and used in another crime, he must reclaim the gun quickly.

Selina’s Point of View:
It’s always a little sad to watch a movie starring an actor that’s died since filming it. It makes it a little easier when you don’t have to say anything bad about the performance.

Paul Walker (Furious 7, Brick Mansions, Pawn Shop Chronicles) was a decent actor, but in Running Scared he was out of this world. I cared about his version of Joey Gazelle. He was also blessed with a great supporting cast, even the kids. Cameron Bright (Motive, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Walled In) didn’t have as many lines as you would think, so he had to get his character’s point and motivation across with physical cues. That’s a difficult thing for an adult actor, but he was only approximately 13 at the time the film came out. I’m super impressed that Bright was able to keep up with the rest of the cast.

Wayne Kramer (Mindhunters, This Film is Not Yet Rated, Blazeland) really nailed the script and the directing. I’m not at all familiar with the rest of his work, but now I want to be.

At the start of the film, I really thought I was just watching a generic, somewhat artistically filmed, action flick. I wasn’t in the mood for an action movie, and I didn’t expect a damn thing from it. By the end of the film, I was entranced by my TV and sitting on the edge of my seat.

There was some artistic camera work that I felt actually took away from the story, but for the most part that artistic touch tended to add to the general feel of the movie. Also, in some movies, starting at the end and then showing how they got there isn’t a good idea. I feel this movie was one of those. The suspense factor would have been through the roof if I hadn’t seen that end scene in the beginning of the film.

One more thing.

Below, we have the Rotten Tomatoes scores listed, like we do in all our reviews. I would like to note the significant difference between the opinions of the critics and the opinions of the audience. There’s nearly a 30% difference, which is huge. I was curious about the discrepancy, so I actually read through a few pages of reviews by the critics.

The consensus seems to be that the movie was violent. Yeah. That’s not a typo. The majority of the “rotten” labeled reviews from critics state that the critic didn’t like the movie because it was violent.

Let me take a moment here to explain why that pisses me off.

This is a rated R action film. In none of the advertisements does it claim to be anything different.

In fact, there are three different movie posters for this film. In one, Paul Walker is holding a gun, while people cower in terror behind him. Another one shows Walker holding a gun, but looks like it’s for a Fast and Furious (2001-) movie. In that one, beneath him are images of a man screaming, and the same two people cowering in terror. In the last one, Walker is holding a gun while people are cowering and there’s another man holding a bigger gun behind him.

What the fuck did the critics expect that the violence level threw them off? This is not a rhetorical question. If you’ve got an idea, let me know, because I am fucking baffled.

So, here’s the deal. If you’re looking to watch something about tiny blue creatures dancing to a magical tune, this is not the movie you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a violent action film, this is one of the best you can find. Try not to expect fluff.

Cat’s Point of View:
If I were asked to sum up this movie in one word, it would be ‘intense.’

The movie opens with a sense of ‘what the hell did I just get myself into?!’ and then just keeps charging from there.

It’s relentless, gritty, super violent, and just a hair away from being Rated NC-17. It was miraculous that it managed the R rating. Apparently, even writer-director Wayne Kramer (Crossing Over, The Cooler, Pawn Shop Chronicles) is said to have been shocked that it managed the lesser.

I saw so many familiar faces from both the large and small screens. I also have a fresh temptation to prod the showrunners of The Walking Dead (2010-), or its after-show, to find a situation where Abraham’s Michael Cudlitz (Tenure, Stolen, Inside Out) finds a stash of gummy bears in honor of his role in this movie.

Cameron Bright (Ultraviolet, Little Glory, Final Girl) was a great choice for the creepy-quiet Oleg. He was excellent with his kicked-puppy look. It really sold his story, even though he had little dialogue. I also loved Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Goats, The Judge) in this. She was a real badass mom.

I have to say that Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, V, Once Upon A Time) takes the cake for the creep-factor in this one.

It all boils down to one person, though. Of course, I’m referring to Paul Walker (Flags of Our Fathers, Takers, Hours). I’ve long been a fan of his, may he rest in peace. I don’t even care that he tended to gravitate to the same sorts of roles over and over – he was excellent at what he did.

Watching his films, now, is a bit like having a visit with an old friend. For this role, he was a loud and foul-mouthed gangster of a friend; but who’s counting?

I’d forgotten that I’d seen this one before – though, that was nearly a decade ago when the movie was released to DVD in 2006. It wasn’t by any means a reflection on the film, itself. I think my only problem with it would be the occasional patches of shaky-cam.  Otherwise, I really enjoyed the whole visceral ride.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 40%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 79%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

P.S. Comic Book-type drawings during the beginning of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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