Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Running Scared: Guilty Pleasure

Lemme start of by saying that this movie was obviously made by people on cocaine. From the director, the writer, the cinematographer and ESPECIALLY the editor. But at the same time, i honestly enjoyed this. Never looked at my watch once, didn't even surf the net while the movie was playing. Normally i cant stand the style of film making that Running Scared falls under. You know that; coke induced/crazy editing/natural born killers-era oliver stone/fight club/awful rob zombie shit that people in their late teens/early 20's seem to love so much. People even go so far as to group classic films like Clockwork Orange in with that kinda garbage (which is why ive stopped telling people that Clockwork is one of my favorite movies). And as much as i love Dareen Aronofsky (and CANT WAIT for black swan), even Requiem for a Dream gets lost in that kinda shit from time to time. I'm not trying to sound like a prick or anything, but i think that kind of film making is cheap. It often leaves you going; "what is going on??" Whats even worse, is that it leaves stupid people thinking that these kind of movies are "cutting edge" or something new. No. They're not. Just because a movie is super violent movie, shot with a nice camera and every other word in the script is "cock-sucker", doesn't make it great.
Now, cutting edge and new are two things that Running Scared are NOT, but its very fun too watch. Totally unbelievable, but it didnt even bother me that much. I mean, in the 18 hour period that the movie takes place in (that's right, not even 24 hours), our characters cross paths with the Russian mob, crooked cops, evil pimps, serial killing pedophiles and theres quite a few shootouts. Whats even more unbelievable is that half of those encounters aren't even related to one another. Random shit just happens all through out the movie.The fact that i like this movie may have some people that know me pretty well scratching their head. But I'm sorry, i enjoyed it (in a guilty pleasure kinda way). I wont be watching it again any time soon, but it was cool for what it was. In Running Scared Paul Walkers plays Joey; A low-level criminal trying to work his way up through the ranks of the mafia. After a drug deal involving the mob that Joey works for goes bad, and crooked cop is killed in the process, Joey is given the gun that killed the crooked cop and told to make it disappear.
So, like a dumb ass, instead of throwing it in the river or something, he takes it home and hides it. The problem is, Oleg, a friend of Joey's son (played by Cameron Bright, the creepy kid from Birth and X-men 3) happens to find the gun and he takes it home and uses it on his abusive father (which now makes the gun evidence in yet another crime). After shooting his shooting his father, he runs away, and then through different encounters the gun gets passed on from one person to the next (similar to the plot in Robert Bresson's L'argent, where we see a fake bill pass from one person to the next, and watch the problems that arise with each person that comes in contact with it). Now the police (both crooked & straight), the mob, and Joey are all trying to find the gun. I know the movies sounds like some knock-off Tarantino/Smokin Aces/Guy Ritchie shit, but trust me, this movie is so ridiculous, its fun.
Oleg, the little kid on the run, probably has the most interesting story in the whole movie. He gets in to more shit than any other character. After he shoots his father and runs away, he gets caught up in way too much shit for anyone (kid or not) too handle. First he saves a prostitute from her pimp. Then he gets kidnapped by a serial killing pedophile couple disguised as a wholesome christian husband & wife. Don't worry, nothing happens to him. He's saved in the nick of time by Joey's wife (played be Vera Farminga). Vera Farmiga is probably the best thing about the movie. Besides the fact that shes beautiful, she (along with Chaz Palmentari) are probably the only 2 cast members that bring legitimate acting to the movie. Paul Walker does that same Keanu Reeves/Point Break acting that he does in every other movie he's in (using an accent that i still figure out. One minute hes from boston, the next minute hes from 1950's booklyn). And all of the other characters are just over-top stereotypical russian mobsters and italian mafia thugs.
The climax of the movie is also great (once again, in a guilty pleasure kinda way), where the mob tortures Joey by having hockey players shoot pucks at his face.
In strange way, this movie kinda reminded me of a dumb-downed version of Romeo is Bleeding. Calm Down. We all know Romeo is a far superior film. Paul Walker's performance in Running Scared (or any movie for that matter) doesnt come close to Gary Oldman in Romeo Is Bleeding. But the mix of violence, randomness, mobsters, impefect protagonists in Running Scared reminds me of Romeo is Bleeding.
We all need a stupid movie every once in a while to balance all the serious shit we watch. I myself ususally turn to movies like Pootie Tang or Grandmas Boy.


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