The Action Mutant…
‘s real name is Buzz Killington.
review by Joe Burrows
Patrick Dempsey’s been one of those actors that is now a star on TV but has been around for ages beforehand. There was a time many thought big things were in store for him, with roles in such comedies as Loverboy and Can’t Buy Me Love but he really didn’t poke his head past the B-List crowd for a good 20 years. Now, he is among the William Petersens and David Carusos (again) of the entertainment world, finally being recognized by both face AND name. And according to IMDB, he was an actor and production manager on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, which strangely makes me respect him just a little bit more than I did five minutes ago.
The Plot, as it was:
Dempsey is Charlie Farrow, a smartass law student who has to drive a car for his employer up to Atlantic City for pickup. Halfway along the drive, Charlie breaks down and gets driven by a cab driver to a local casino. Charlie gets in on an exclusive poker game and pisses off the casino owner’s son Denny (Alan C. Peterson) with his hot streak. During a confrontation afterwards, Denny slips, cracks his head open and kills himself. I guess we all know who will get blamed for that. With that, a town full of crooked cops & hitmen try to catch Charlie and turn him in to the casino owner (Ken Pogue), a mobster that basically owns the entire town. The only person that believes Charlie is Karen (Kelly Preston), a casino waitress who helps him on the run.
Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
This is one of those films that I caught on local broadcast TV the first time around and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s a simple plot and it’s not going to be called original by any means but it moves at a brisk pace and is fairly engaging. I’ll admit Dempsey was a little too smug at the beginning and looked like he was begging for a beating but you learn to accept him in this town full of shady characters. Director Geoff Burrowes manages to be fairly ingenious with a medium budget, as the chase sequences turn into a series of “can you top this?” situations. If it isn’t a car chase that ends on the roof of a parking garage, it’s a footrace through the inner workings of a bowling alley. The cast of relative unknowns is a mixed bag, with Peterson making the most of his intimidating stature. However, I was waiting for a pigeon to perch on top of Pogue’s head at times, as a cigar store Indian could have showed the same emotion (and would have been cheaper to pay, too). Despite a few shortcomings in the story (such as why everyone is out for Charlie’s head when everyone, including Denny’s father, admits the kid was an asshole and had it coming?), Run is 90 minutes of enough twists and action to keep you on your feet for a while.
Character/Supporting Actor Sighting!:
- Lochlyn Munro (A Night at the Roxbury, Freddy v. Jason), who has seemingly made a career niche as the “token frat boy”, is…yeah.
Body Count/Violence: 11. Despite its R rating, it’s not terribly violent. There is shooting, car crashes, electrocution and people being thrown off of roofs but none of its really bloody or over the top. I will say this: this is probably the only film outside of a Monty Python skit where you will see someone impaled by a rabbit. You’ll see.
Sexuality/Nudity: Charlie and Karen roll around in the mud when Karen tries to escape and she gets her shirt torn but it’s not nearly as sexy as it sounds. Didn’t these guys ever see Mischief? The film could have probably doubled its take if they had a scene similar to the one in Mischief. You know what I’m talking about (I think you do).
Language/Dialogue: Pretty mild, actually. I was actually wondering why this was rated R in the first place but they snuck in an F bomb at the very last moment, almost to seemingly justify it. Still, there have been harsher PG-13 films than this.
How bad was it?:
Critics thoroughly trashed it, with Ebert even going as far as to basically call it a poor man’s After Hours (which sounds pretty stupid to me, since AH was meant to be a bizarre black comedy as opposed to a straight out thriller). Again, it’s not rocket science: it wasn’t meant to be art so why trash it like an attempt at one?
Did it make the studio’s day?:
How does “not really” sound? Produced by Hollywood Pictures (cue ominous music) on a $16 million budget, Run debuted 2/1/91 in 11th place. Home Alone was still trouncing the competition in its 12th week in theaters so there was no chance to begin with. The film quietly fell to 15th and finished its stay with $4.4 million. I am surprised that this hasn’t gotten some sort of American DVD release due to Dempsey’s career resurgence in Grey’s Anatomy. Check Amazon and you’ll find it does fairly well on video sales.
Entertainment value: ***1/2/*****
Copyright 2007 The Action Mutant.