Running Scared 2006

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The death of star Paul Walker will likely make his 2006 thriller Running Scared into something of a cult item; if it does, it’ll be a belated but well-deserved recognition of an energetic, original B movie that is packed with neat and sometimes disturbing ideas.  Writer/director Wayne Kramer casts Walker as Joey Gazelle, a tough thug entrusted with disposing of a gun used to kill a policeman. A child steals the gun and uses it to kill his father, and Joey must act to save his reputation by finding both the gun and the kid. Vera Farmiga and Chazz Palminteri are hot on Joey’s tail, and things get darker when Joey’s mark falls into the hands of child-pornographers.  Violent, seedy but pulsing with low-rent energy, Kramer seems to relish taking his story over-the-top, and Running Scared has a weird hallucinatory energy, right down to the animated credits at the end. And although he wasn’t first choice for the role of Joey, Walker does his usual accomplished leading man thing; in a short career, Running Scared is probably his best work outside the Fast and Furious films. An unrecognised gem of a thriller.

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