Germany / USA 2006
Michael A. Pierce, Brett Ratner, Sammy Lee, Matt Luber (executive), Andrew Pfeffer (executive), Andreas Grosch (executive), Stewart Hall (executive), Andreas Schmid (executive) for VIP Medienfonds, MDP Filmproduktion, Media 8 Entertainment, True Grit, New Line
directed by Wayne Kramer
starring Paul Walker, Cameron Bright, Vera Farmiga, Karel Roden, Johnny Messner, Ivana Milicevic, Chazz Palminteri, Alex Neuberger, Michael Cudlitz, Bruce Altman, Elizabeth Mithcell, Arthur J.Nascarella, John Noble, Idalis DeLeon, David Warshofsky, Jim Tooey, Thomas Rosales jr, Morgan Johnson, Jamba Mulimwe, Maurice Lee, Viktor Cervenka, Oakley Lehman, Jan Kohout, Karen Joy Cifarelli, Brian Caspe, Ryan James, Ellen Savaria, Jiri Simberský, Petr Horacek, Miroslav Lhotka, William Byrd Wilkins, Ephwaim Goldin, Matthew Blood-Smyth, Julian Littman, Katerina Novotná, James Lambert, Howie Lotker, David Monteiro, Jeff Caster, Todd Kramer, Clara Perez, Andrew Jopson, Louise De Stexhe, Eddie Otero, Andrea Vybiralova, Monika Podzimkova, Jan Vosmik, Roman Kracik, Glenn Wrage
written by Wayne Kramer, music by Mark Isham
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Gangster Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) is asked by his accomplice Tommy
(John Messner) to get rid of a gun he has just killed a cop with. Instead,
Joey hides it in his cellar ... and before you know it, Oleg (Cameron
Bright) has stolen the gun and tried to kill his abusive stepdad (Karel
Roden) with it, then he ran away with the gun leaving his seriously
injured dad behind. Of course, guns don't remain with little kids for
long, so before you know it, it went through the hands of a Jamaican drug
pusher, a whore with a heart of gold, a car mechanic and finally the
caricature of a pimp (David Warshofsky).
Anyways, Joey desperately needs the hot gun back - especially since a
corrupt cop (Chazz Palminteri) is already on his trail -, and he is so
desperate that he even takes his own son (Alex Neuberger) with him to get
the gun back - but somehow everything is to no avail, and Joey's boss
Frankie (Arthur J.Nascarella), Tommy's dad, gets more and more pissed at
In the meantime, Oleg has fallen into the clutches of child molesters,
and somehow it falls upon Joey's wife T (Vera Farmiga) to free him, and -
upon seeing what lowlife these people are - kill the child molesters in
Back at home, Joey meets T and decides to take Oleg with him searching
for the gun (though I don't know why, by now it is established that Joey
knows that Oleg doesn't have the gun anymore and doesn't know who the gun
has, while Joey does know who the gun has). Ultimately though, Joey falls
into the clutches of his own mob which has somehow joined up with Oleg's
stepdad's mob, the Russian Mafia, and both mobs - including Oleg's stepdad
- have come to the conclusion they have to brutally kill both Joey and
Oleg. But ultimately, Joey plays the two mobs against each other, which
ends in a shoot out in a icehockey arena that only Joey and Oleg survive.
Oh, and by that time it turns out that Joey is an undercover cop and has
been for the past twelve years (not even his wife knows about that) ... so
it seems justice has been served.
But what does Joey do then, does he drive home and bring Oleg home as
Nope, they decide to have breakfast in a diner, where Joey is fatally
wounded by the pimp who still has the hot gun. Somehow though, he manages
to drive home, where in the meantime (for no apparent reason), Oleg's mum
(Ivana Milicevic) has killed herself ...
Joey gets a hero's funeral, but in the end it turns out he hasn't died
at all but merely moved to the country with his family- and Oleg, who by
now has no parents of his own no more ...
Running Scared is a nice, fast-moving, gritty and violent thriller. It
could have been really great too, but somehow that doesn't quite work out
for a variety of reasons: Firstly, the direction time and again tries to
be so damn cool using flashy camera techniques, shaky cameras, scenes in
rewind and over-accomplished pans like nobody's businees that don't help
the story to get along one bit. And secondly, the story just tries too
much - the whole subplot about Oleg and the child molesters would make a
nice movie of its own but is totally out of place in this film since it
doesn't help move the actual story along one bit - while it contains way
too many leaps of reason - why does Joey in the end take Oleg with him,
why does Oleg's mum commit suicide, and how did Joey survive his death in
the end ? And then there's of course the ending that is way too cheesy:
Why does Joey all of a sudden need to be an undercover cop, why does his
family suddenly move out to the country, and why do they adopt Oleg ?
Still, the film is pretty entertaining - it's just a shame that it's
never allowed to develop its full potential. It could have been a
masterpiece, only it isn't.