“Running Scared” is your regular action movie with a straight forward plot and some twists mixed in between. It also has some artistic shots thrown in and does tend to get rather graphically violent when bullets fly and they fly a lot.
The movie starts at the end and we rewind 18 hours and watch the events that lead up to that first scene. Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) works for the mob. He disposes of “hot” guns used in mob shootings and this time it’s a special gun used to kill a cop. Joey puts it where he put all the other guns, in the basement of his house behind a wall. Oleg (Cameron Bright from “Birth“), the neighbor’s kid and Joey’s son Nicky were playing hockey in the basement and they quickly hide when Joey comes down to stash the guns. Oleg, who regularly gets beat up by his father, later steals that special gun and so the story unfolds.
The hunt for the gun makes the whole movie but getting the gun back becomes more and more irrelevant. All Joey knows and all we are made to believe is that he is a dead man if he doesn’t get the gun back.
There are two distinctive subplots to mention. One is the pedophile couple and the other is the pimp daddy who gets quite attached to the gun himself. Both subplots are resolved; in which way I leave for you to discover. The pedophile subplot is pure evil, surreal wicked vile evil and Nicky’s mother Teresa (Vera Farmiga) will find herself smack in the middle of it.
There are more motives strewn in, like the hooker who helps Oleg get his medicine at gunpoint and the crackhead (wolf/Grimm motif) who takes Oleg hostage to get some new crack which ends up in more shooting.
Why this movies is tagged Drama is something we should ponder a bit more. Why indeed? The real drama is Paul Walker’s performance I guess, hence the tagging and esp. at the end we get some very dramatic teeth flinching, no CGI was used. Regarding the acting, let me quote Roger Ebert on this:
You won’t catch him acting in “Running Scared.” (rogerebert.com).
Still, it is an action movie and as such we do not expect character development nor any acting to speak of. “Running Scared” definately delivers on the Action and Crime part and has its share of thrills.
All in all, “Running Scared” is a good action movie that has an extremely high body count, corrupt cops, hookers, pimps, perverts, some shocking (for some) or ludicrous (for others) subplots, offers a twist here and there and comes with some hot scenes of nudity, all basic ingredients for a good action movie and you can enjoy it as such and forget about the gun already.