In Wayne Kramer’s latest film, Paul Walker stars as Joey Gazelle, a man who seems to be a part of the mob and has a ten year old son named Nick. The film then zooms back to 18 hrs earlier where Joey and his Perello boys are ambushed and are nearly killed. Turns out these men who they just killed are big time cops. Joey is told to get rid of the murder weapons, which seems to be his main goal in this mob group. Instead, as we soon learn, Joey never does this instead he hides the weapons. Unfortunately for Joey, Nick a…d his friend Oleg see Joey put away one of the guns and, well, all hell breaks loose after this as Oleg steals the gun and uses it to shoot his abusive stepfather. Apparently. Oleg’s stepfather was connected to the Russian mob. Convenient no?
Joey and his wife seem to be in a love-hate relationship where his wife seems to hate what he does for a living. All Joey wants to do is simply provide for his family which Director Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) shows us with a sly direction. Kramer presents Joey as a family type of man who, possibly, had a rough beginning to his life and only wants to provide the best he can for his son and wife. Joey must go on a non-stop chase searching for this gun otherwise Joey can kiss his life good bye as he so often tells us.
As previously mentioned, the direction type used by Karmer is quite excellent. Throughout the course of the film, Karmer presents this somewhat ordinary story with an interesting skill and story direction. The common places story here about a man and the mob, is nothing entirely new but Kramer puts a new story twist on it presenting some ideas after they have occurred. Take the scene where Oleg shoots his stepfather. Joey hears the shot, runs next door and then we freeze the frame and got back to exactly how the shot took place. Nothing terribly new, but it’s always interesting to see this type of direction brought in.
Everyday, if one looks around, a negative story can be read about actor Paul Walker. Having first seen him in the film Joy Ride, I always find that he brings a level of somewhat seriousness to his roles. Sure he isn’t the best actor around, but the roles he chooses are always roles where you tend to grow some type of sympathy and compassion for his character as he only wants to do what’s best in his current situation. For Walker in Running Scared, he is probably the best thing for the film, as he brings a possible high level of credibility to the role, but also is the film’s most negative point as, one can easily say, the film stars Paul Walker.
While the film can be a bit confusing at times, the frantic action arrives scene after scene. The events surrounding the main characters are so intense that we tend to move a bit closer and closer as the film progresses as we want to see what happens. The film is far from perfect, but is definitely a good way to spend two hours of your life.
Running Scared is presented in an anamorphic Widescreen Aspect Ratio of 2:35:1. The transfer, for a new film, looks clean and beautiful, which is expected. The color palette, which mostly consists of darker colors like black, are rich and deep, sometimes so deep that the viewer can’t make out what is occurring in front of him. The film’s print showed no real damage, which was a plus since some recently quick theater to video prints didn’t look as good. Running Scared looks great.
We’re given the standard English Dolby Digital 5.1 or English DTS mix. Dialogue is overly clear and simple while the numerous gun blasts and constant yelling give the film a solid overall dynamic range. Some scenes, even though this isn’t a very heavy film, had the sub bouncing in and out. Similar to the video, since this is a newer film, the audio tracks sound great.
While the extra’s aren’t too numerous, I did enjoy the commentary track.
- Audio Commentary with Director Wayne Kramer: Since I enjoyed the film a lot, I was interested to see what Kramer had to say. We can tell from the film’s few jabs at things like MasterCard that Kramer has a sense of humor, which is shown via this commentary. Kramer fills us in on what is was like working with Walker and the various other cast members.
- Running Scared: Through the Looking Glass: This feature gives us a lot behind the scenes information with a few interviews and film clips.
- Trailer: Here we get the film’s theatrical trailer.
Running Scared was rather ignored during its theatrical run probably due to the stigmata that Paul Walker has, for some reason, had attached to himself and his acting. The film is rather interestingly made and features some fine acting. While the features were extremely sparse, they were very interesting. The Video and Audio quality is nearly perfect. All these little positives add up to a purchase if you like the director, the actors or want a pretty solid film.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary with Director Wayne Kramer
- Running Scared: Through the Looking Glass