Running Scared feels like Tony Scott on barbiturates. From tone to approach, it's like a Scott-helmed movie, but the tendency to show off is limited, the camera movements are less frantic, and the editing occasionally allows shots to last for more than a second. The result is a picture that retains coherence to go along with its pile-driver intensity. With a complex plot that unspools with surprising clarity, Running Scared displays a reckless intensity. In retrospect, a lot of what the film offers falls apart, but the filmmakers do their best to use adrenaline to keep us from thinking too much during the experience.
When I first heard that Running Scared was a "Paul Walker" movie, I winced. The kinds of films Walker is associated with are not normally representative of the fare I enjoy. But the man's work here is a revelation. This isn't the Paul Walker whose good looks and stiff performances have made him a king of PG-13. Here, he's gritty, grungy, shows a full spectrum of emotion, and displays more than a scintilla of ability. It took less than a minute for me to stop thinking of him as Paul Walker and accept him as Joey Gazelle, low-level mobster.
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