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Running Scared

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
Running Scared
from Film Forum, 03/02/06

If you prefer morality tales that sensationalize immorality, well, Running Scared may be the movie for you. Hopefully, you're too discerning to be drawn in.

Joe Roth's film is about a mobster (Paul Walker) who collects the guns that have been used in criminal activity—guns he's supposed to destroy in order to protect his mob associates. Then, his son gets hold of one of them and—well, you can probably guess where this is going. What you can't guess, however, is just how far Roth will enthusiastically go to entertain audiences with the violence that ensues.

Christopher Lyon (Plugged In) calls it a "hyperkinetic, ugly film. … Even if the movie wasn't a cinematic mess of over-directing, unanswered questions and nonsensical plot twists, it's a pointless celebration of the worst kinds of excess and vice."

Lyon dismisses the director's claims that the film is a moral tale. "However gritty, this film is no honest exploration of the consequences of crime, child abuse or drug use. In the director's own words, 'It's a ride, and it shouldn't be taken too seriously.' If that's true, then the endless violence, child abuse and drug use are all meant as entertainment, right?"

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says it's "long, loud, loathsome and ultimately ludicrous."

Mainstream critics aren't running scared—they're ranting, disgusted.