Today’s Prayer Focus

Running Scared

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for pervasive strong brutal violence and language, sexuality and drug content.

Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Action Adventure Thriller
Length: 2 hr. 2 min.
Year of Release: 2006
USA Release: February 24, 2006 (limited)
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Relevant Issues
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Featuring Paul Walker, Vera Farmiga, Chazz Palminteri, Cameron Bright, Johnny Messner, Alex Neuberger, Karel Roden, Ivana Milicevic, Bruce Altman, Elizabeth Mitchell
Director Wayne Kramer
Producer Andrew Pfeffer, Andreas Grosch, Michael Pierce
Distributor: New Line Cinema. Trademark logo.
New Line Cinema
, division of Warner Bros. Pictures

“Every bullet leaves a trail.”

I haven’t seen a film with less redemptive value than “Running Scared” in a long time. It is a dark film depicting how people can treat each other in their depravity. The various oppressive actions include threatening, injuring and killing others as well as child and spousal abuse, women bought and sold as property along with battering them, suicide, and substance abuse. Several of these have extended and somewhat frightening or gory time dedicated to them with a lot of foul language included.

The movie starts of with a drug deal put on by the Italian mafia that goes sour. After the battle that ensues, most of the 15 or so people in the room are lying dead on the floor from gunshot or knife wounds. Some of the men who broke into the room were dirty cops intent on stealing the drugs and money.

The mafia members’ guns are given to Joey (Paul Walker) to dispose of as he usually does. For some reason, he stores them in a hidden room in his basement instead. His son, Nicky (Alex Neuberger), and his best friend, Oleg (Cameron Bright), are hiding in the basement and see Joey and his stash of weapons. Oleg then steals the snub-nosed 38 Joey just placed there.

Oleg reluctantly returns home, and we soon learn that his father, Ivan (John Noble), is a meth lab running junkie who beats both his son and his wife. While Ivan is slapping his wife around Oleg returns to the room with the stolen gun and shoots his father.

Scared, Oleg runs to hide, setting the stage for the rest of the movie. Joey now has to track down both Oleg and the gun before the cops or the mafia figure out what happened. The night will prove long, bloody and abusive for all involved.

Joey enters a strip club to meet with mafia members and a dirty cop. Full frontal and rear nudity is shown by about six female dancers. Later, we see Oleg and two other children kidnapped by a couple who videotape the children. It is strongly hinted that the couple tapes the sexual abuse, torture and death of many children. Oleg is able to call Joey’s wife, Teresa (Vera Farmiga), for help. After his rescue Teresa sends the children out of the room, calls the police to report a shooting, and then kills the couple.

There was a lot more violence and abuse, but you get the idea. In addition to these things there were also more than 385 obscenities. About 290 of them were the F*** word and another dozen were profanities of God’s names.

A movie with this much violence doesn’t need a lot of good acting, and “Running Scared” is no exception. I can’t tell how good the actors are because they didn’t get the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. The film itself was also darkened to match the mood of movie, so the picture wasn’t as clear as could be.

Though I wouldn’t recommend this movie, I have to admit that I liked the last five minutes. Information was revealed that attempted to make the movie more palatable. Unfortunately, my senses had been assaulted so badly by this time that it came “to little to late.” I can’t report what the good part was without revealing a spoiler, so I’ll stop there. I don’t think many people will want to endure this movie just to enjoy the fact that it ended.

  • Violence: Extreme
  • Language: Extreme— for example, an astounding 315 f-words (2½ per minute)
  • Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—If I had not been watching this movie on a network channel that had cleaned up the offensive language, I would have turned the channel after the first 5 minutes. The technical filmmaking was average or just above, the acting was average, the plot was good, the violence was horrendous and unnecessary to get the plot of the movie across. The fact that the movie has received an average of 7.5 out of 10 by the reviewers so far, just goes to show you how sick our society has become. I would rate this move a 1.5 out of 10, based on the language and violence, and have, at every rating site I can find. This movie could have been a lot better if the “F” word wasn’t used (or in the cleaned up version I watched “FRICKEN”) 6 times in every sentence of the movie. Totally unnecessary for that kind of language in any movie. If I had gone to the movies and paid money to see it, I would have walked out and demanded my money back!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Mikey, age 56 (USA)
Negative—I love crime movies and while I don’t care for a high amount of profanity on a regular basis, I do enjoy movies such as “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “The Departed,” “The Irishman,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Scarface,” and the like. I just wouldn’t binge that content all at once, if you get what I mean.

“Running Scared” could be ranked among these if it wasn’t so ugly. I wasn’t expecting a children’s film obviously, and I knew going in that it would have a high amount of language, but there is so much blood, crime, and other horrific elements that even this lover of Scorsese movies couldn’t enjoy it.

The film stars Paul Walker as a mobster assigned to get rid of a gun used in murder at the start of the movie. The gun lands in the hands of the neighbor kid Oleg, who uses it to shoot his stepfather. (He is shot, but not killed.) The kid hides the gun, and chaos ensues when the neighbor’s Dad searches for him and hopes to set things back to normal.

I’m going to summarize the rest of my review. This movie is brutal—with lots and lots of blood. I happen to like “The Passion of the Christ” and the “Saw” movies, yet I cringed at all of the shooting and stabbing. All the close ups of stabbings and shootings make me nauseous just thinking about them.

The movie has over 300 F-words according to Wikipedia, and while, again, not all profane movies are bad in my opinion, this got tedious—especially when (beep) was said maybe 5 times a paragraph.

In the movie’s most engaging part, Oleg, the neighbor kid, ends up meeting what he thinks is a family, but they’re later implied to be 2 child molesters who kidnap children for pornography. Yes, this was the most ENGAGING part, but that’s not to say I “enjoyed” it.

So unless constant shooting, profanity, and disgusting characters are your idea of entertainment, skip Running Scared. Again, I happen to also enjoy “Saw” movies, and that would have been preferable to this trash.

I’d like to know whose sick idea it was to make this movie. It wasn’t the worst thing I have seen, and at times it seemed redeemable, but I never need to see this foul filth ever again. Save your conscience, your money, and innocence if possible. When it comes to reacting to this movie, running sure is the way to go.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Zachary Wayne Siple, age 23 (USA)

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