RUN comes twirling at you, out of control, like Red Harvest meets THE BIG MOUTH.
Charlie Farrow (Patrick Dempsey), a smart-aleck law student and part-time automobile mechanic, is asked by his boss to deliver a Porsche from Boston to Atlantic City for a client. It is not long before both the car and reason are abandoned, when the Porsche breaks down in a New England town
sleazy enough to qualify as a suped-up Poisonville.
While Charlie waits for the car to be repaired, a cab driver takes him to an undercover casino, Charlie having been mistaken for an Atlantic City high roller. At the casino, Charlie earns the enmity of Denny Halloran (Alan C. Peterson), who takes exception to Charlie's beating him at poker. In
the ensuing fight, Denny trips over a potted palm, falls onto a sharp object, and dies. Charlie is now on the spot because Denny happens to be the son of Matt Halloran (Ken Pogue), owner and despot of the casino, the police force and the town.
Accused of murdering Denny, Charlie finds himself on the run from both the cops and Halloran's henchmen. The bodies pile up as Charlie dodges flying bullets and bowling pins, explosions from numerous assault weapons, and miscellaneous shrapnel and twisted auto parts as he is pursued on a
nightmare race through racetracks, amusement parks, bowling alleys, and shopping malls. with Charlie, finally, captured by Halloran, they confront each other and Halloran gets what's coming to him, impaled on a mechanical pacer greyhound.
RUN squeaks by on the shadowy, black-drenched night photography of Bruce Surtees, who achieves same fetid cinematographic effects of his Clint Eastwood policiers SUDDEN IMPACT and TIGHTROPE. Most of the film takes place on a dank, rainy night and the harsh lights that blare into Surtees's venal
landscape cast the characters in a blue-white sickliness. But this film is no Eastwood picture and instead of Dirty Harry, the viewer is offered Patrick Dempsey, his Charlie all Woody Allen line readings and Jerry Lewis pratfalls, without an ounce of charm, warmth or screen presence. Charlie is
hero as cipher, a character in lockstep with a contrived chase that has no purpose and no end, an 89-minute video game.
The chase which comprises the major plot element of RUN is a Rube Goldberg invention, the grisly deaths built upon flimsy, clumsy underpinnings. Charlie emerges unscathed from some of the most ridiculous confrontations imaginable--a bulldozer smashes four cars to rubble, a utility pole falls and
electrocutes a gunman just as he is about to take aim and shoot, Charlie is saved from being tossed over a high-rise by grabbing a thug's pants and ripping them down to the strongest cuff ever made and hanging on. And for a town seemingly consisting of hired killers and corrupt officials, the
level of marksmanship is suprisingly poor. In this atmosphere of high-tech, action-thriller incompetence, Charlie becomes, not a victim of circumstances, but a victor of circumstances.
Along with the tongue-in-cheek ARACHNOPHOBIA and the insipid TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS, RUN was one of the first films released under the Hollywood Pictures banner, the new arm of Buena Vista Productions, ostensibly as a standard bearer for more adult oriented films. But RUN, in its relentlessly
contrived car chases, cardboard characters and grammar school narrative line, makes Buena Vista's MILLION DOLLAR DUCK look like Private Lives. (Violence.)
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