Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Running Scared (1986)

“Pointing a gun at a police officer. Can we waste them for that?”

Director: Peter Hyams
Starring: Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal and Steven Bauer
Writers: Gary DeVore and Jimmy Huston

It’s been a while since I’ve watched an 80’s buddy cop movie, and this was on the pay television so I thought why not. Of course unlike some other buddy movie where normally it’s an odd paring, Ray and Danny are partners who think alike and are each others best friend. Honestly where the oddness comes up is with the city of Chicago. They are cops who are growing tired with their home place, tired of being shot at, and are looking to finally retire.

Never would I have thought Billy Crystal could have pulled of being a believable cop, sure he’s a jokester in this movie, but there seems to be a weariness to him that comes from being a cop. Gregory Hines is probably the serious one of the two, and yet he has his comedic moments, and you believe that the two could be partners as they do play off each other very well. Jimmy Smits plays a slimy lead bad guy very well, while Joe Pantoliano plays his underling Snake with even more sliminess. They do make for a good reason to leave the city.

The story itself is a little interesting but always goes for the joke rather than delving too deep into any of the interesting topics it raises, but then this is all the movie wants to do. Crystal and Hines really do work off each other well, even Smits and Pantoliano demonstrate chemistry with the two cops and it creates a believable dynamic throughout the film. I also appreciated that Peter Hymes made Chicago seem dirty and dark, while Florida was bright and beautiful, it at least created a contrast for the movie and emphasising what would be great about the move.

If you’re after a fun movie that moves at a pretty brisk pace then Running Scared does have a bit going for it. Sure it can feel scuzzy sometimes but then that is the intention, and it’s always interesting to see Crystal and Hines react to the crap in Chicago. One of the better buddy cop movies out there.

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