Walking into a Paul Walker movie without a pre-judgmental mindset has always been a bit of a challenge, considering his extensive history of ridiculous roles.
After last week's release of "Eight Below" starring the one and only Walker mushing some sled dogs through the Antarctic, shelling out the dough for "Running Scared" was a painful experience. To my surprise, however, and saying this feels like blasphemy, the man freakin' pulled off some decent intense acting and with any luck has locked his street car in the closet for good.
Directed by the awkward-and-uncomfortable moment guy, Wayne Kramer, "Running Scared" will most likely go down as the biggest surprise of 2006 and the most original mobster movie to come out in a good while.
Joey Gazelle, played by Walker, is a small-time mob gofer whose only responsibility is to dispose of guns used by the big boys. Joey however, hasn't exactly been doing his job, and instead of doing the whole toss the gun into the river routine, he's been stashing the heat inside a secret hole in his basement wall. It appears it's been working out for him though, with quite the stash building up after the addition of two guns used to kill some cops.
Everything's going well, that is until his son's friend, Oleg, sneaks a gun from the stash, pops a round into his stepfather's shoulder and takes off across town with the piece. Now it's all Joey can do to find Oleg and get the gun back before the mob offs him for putting evidence of their murders into the hand of the cops.
The super creepy kid from the "Butterfly Effect," Cameron Bright, plays the troublesome Oleg and once again comes through with more disturbing antics. As far as that goes, the flick is filled with screwed-up stuff with nasty gunshot wounds, pimps smashing hooker's faces into headlights and two of the most messed up child molester/murderers I've seen in a film.
Kramer definitely has his head in the right place and needs to keep pumping out more great flicks. His directing style and amazing use of original and unique camerawork gives "Running Scared" an intensity not quite like anything else. If you want to experience the full spectrum of emotions in two hours and maybe give Walker a fifteenth chance, check out this flick ASAP.
4 out of 5 ramheads