Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#76 - Running Scared - 2006

The 6th movie I decided to watch this week was the 2006 sleeper Running Scared. At first I had no idea why this film wasn't a major motion picture to hit theaters but after seeing it I figured out why. Two things. Incredibly brutal and violent and cursing that is rarely seen in non Eddie Murphy Beverly Hills Cop movies. haha. If you want an exact cuss count on one word alone check this out, the word fuck is said 328 times in the film. Yeah that's a lot. I guess when the tagline for this film states "makes Kill Bill look like Sesame Street" you have to figure its going to be pretty intense. With all that being said below is my detailed review.

I originally saw this one with my wife back in 2006 when I saw it for rent at our local video store. We were both pleasantly surprised but equally shocked at the brutality of and violent nature of this film. Like I said before that is probably what led it down the road to a straight to DVD rental instead of a big screen motion picture. This film had a good cast made up mostly of character actors but was led by Paul Walker who played Joey Gazelle. Other notable actors in this film were Cameron Bright (Oleg), Chazz Palminteri (Detective Rydell), Vera Farmiga (Teresa Gazelle), Johnny Messner (Tommy Perello), Elizabeth Mitchell (Edele), Bruce Altman (Dez), and Michael Cudlitz (Sal Franzone - but think Cop on Southland). Walker was easily the best actor in this film but Johnny Messner was also good in his small role.

This movie was action packed from start to finish and had all kinds of different storylines. I loved how the end of the film was really the beginning and then we see inside a hotel room for the first scene and flashed in front of our eyes was "18 hours earlier". That was cool. After watching the movie that was one hell of an 18 hour time span that's for sure. What struck me about this movie was the brutal nature of it and I guess the directors were surprised that it even got an R rating as opposed to an NC17. From what I read it looks as though they had to tweak one scene to make that happen but still it was a very rough edged R rated movie.

There was a lot of brutality in this film but none more so that the initial first scene. Now I know what your thinking, they wasted all the good stuff on the first scene but that wasn't the case at all. I saw it as more of an in your face this is what type of movie this is going to be scene than anything else. That first scene and the shootout was awesome and rarely do you see a film open with such a bang, both literally and figuratively. For me it really set the scene for the type of film this was going to be but I still did not expect as much action and suspense to follow.

Paul Walker's character Joey Gazelle was single handily probably responsible for about 275 of those "fuck's" said in this film but that went along with his character and fit so incredibly well in this film. His furious, erratic, and anxious behavior along with a fervent goal to find the gun in this film and anyone who obtained it was mesmerizing to watch. Seeing him go absolutely nuts after bullets flew by him at dinner and then watching him burst into a house where a bunch of guys are playing cards and going berserk on them was pretty damn cool to see! He was ever so convincing in this role and I forgot he was simply acting at several times during this film. I cant imagine this film with any other actor playing this role, it just wouldn't have worked this well.

You couldn't help but hate a couple of characters in this film. First the Russian next door neighbor Anzor who beat relentlessly on his girlfriend and verbally attacked her son. I don't think many people were too upset after realizing the son, Oleg, shot this basted. Then you have the pimp Lester, classless in every sense of the word and not just because of his occupation. This guy enjoyed slapping around women and being the big shot he felt he was. Watching him get whacked at the end was enjoyable as well. Oh his poor white suit!! Obviously the Russian's at the end of the film at the Ice Hockey Rink deserved what they got coming too but to me they weren't quite as back at Anzor and Lester the Pimp. Don't get me wrong though there were plenty of bad guys to go around in this film.

One thing I thoroughly enjoyed throughout this film was the angle shots of certain scenes and unique perspective it gave the audience. There were several of these on display in the opening shootout scene however it was much more evident and cool on the sequence where the bullets flew into Joey's house and at one point right through his piece of bread. The entire sequence that followed when he went next door and we saw a glimpse of what took place was really awesome. I love when films throw different aspects towards us and not everything is just shot as is. It makes it more interesting. Walker again was brilliant and the writing was right on target in the scene where Joey picks up the bullet on his shoe with a piece of gum. Brilliant idea on how to get that bullet out of the house!

I know up above I said you couldn't help but hate a couple of characters in this film but there needs to be a whole new paragraph written for the characters Dez and Edele who were child molesters and killers. It just so happened to be that Oleg got into the back of this couple's van when trying to escape Anzor and that was one of the worst mistakes of his life. Dez and Edele were a young to middle aged couple who kidnapped, molested, and eventually or I should say presumably killed young children. We don't see any of this take place but the DVD copies with children's names tagged indicate this is so. Although at first this sequence does not fit anywhere into this movie it is quite evident the despicable nature of what these two evil monsters do fits right on into this film. There creepy plain condo has no pictures of children around but there is a play room where they play dress up and videotape there despicable unforgiving acts of violence. After Oleg calls his friends mom, Teresa she comes to the condo with the gun loaded and cocked and bursts in and eventually finds Oleg with a plastic bag tied around his head in a closet and she quickly realizes how fucked up this couple really is. She does what I would think anyone would want to do but only a select few would actually be able to. She shoots and kills them both point blank and this is easily the most satisfying scene of the film for me and it is fitting since it comes after the most heinous and dark scene in the film.

The film culminates with a bloody scene on an ice hockey rink, a car ride home, and a fake death but ends with Joey Gazelle alive and well and with a new addition to his family, his son's friend Oleg. Oleg's mother had actually committed suicide earlier in the movie by blowing up the meth lab in the back of her house and after what took place throughout the film and with nobody to take care of him Oleg became a part of the Gazelle family. All in all this was a great film and well worth watching but not a lets get the entire family together type one. If your in the mood for an action suspense flick that is heavy on the brutality then see this film. Usually films that run more than 2 hours can have a lot of dead space throughout and at least a scene or two that lags but this film didn't have a single one. From start to finish it was an adrenaline rush and that is rare but very gladly welcomed. I would easily give this film a firm A!

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