The Ninjabot

Grindhouse Review – Running Scared

Posted on October 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm by AGouff

Hey fellow Grindhouse buffs, I have once again found time to bring to you a peek at the stranger side of cinema. This time around we’re going to be checking out the original 1986 version of Running Scared. Granted, this breaks slightly from my definition of grindhouse film as it was a bigger budget Hollywood film, but it really fits the quintessential grindhouse trait of being a film made around a “hook”—a theme of “outrageousness”—to draw in an audience. In this case, it’s wise-cracking buddy cops who don’t play by the rules. Unique, huh? I also happen to feel obligated to inform the uneducated film fans that there was a truly fun movie by the same name that predates the Paul Walker horror flick.

You’ll immediately recognize a good chunk of the cast—Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal, Joe Pantoliano and Jimmy Smits just to name a few. Hines and Crystal play Ray and Danny, a pair of cops with a pair of ex-wives, a slew of rights violations they’re being sued for, and a penchant for sarcastic remarks. Pantoliano is Snake, a low level crook who Ray and Danny use to get to Julio Gonzalez (Jimmy Smits), who is smuggling guns and attempting to take over the drug trade in Chicago. In the process of busting Gonzalez, he promises them they will be dead men.

The antics the two engage in gets them sent on a mandatory vacation to the Florida Keys where they decide to buy a bar and turn in their 30-day notice upon their return to the Windy City. Their drug dealer target has made bail and is now in the process of continuing to increase his empire, leading them to attempt to pursue him even harder so they can put him away before they retire. They make a major break when they bust a shipment of millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine. The whole thing gets infinitely more complicated after Gonzalez kidnaps Danny’s ex-wife and demands his drugs in exchange for her freedom. Hilariously over-the-top gun battle ensues, bad guy dies badly.

Overall, though it’s not what most people think of as grindhouse, Running Scared has all the greatest elements of a grindhouse film—truly bad villain, ridiculous situations, and tons of violence. It’s a great action flick that shows what Hollywood can do when big names get behind a film that so blatantly follows an already popular trend.

I give Running Scared a 6.5 out of 9 flying paper plates. Crystal and Hines deliver consistently hilarious one-liners throughout and the action is so improbable it’s great.

Running Scared

Billy Crystal
Gregory Hines
Joe Pantoliano
Jimmy Smitts

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