Millennium Entertainment // 2013 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // January 13th, 2014
Fear nothing. Overcome everything.
If you follow foreign action movies at all, you've heard of Parkour. The Luc Besson-produced District B13 made a splash by including a number of scenes where its hero engaged in some creative traversing of his district using the free-running techniques. It seemed like a fad that had run its course (pun intended) once it appeared in the opening of Casino Royale, where a would-be free-runner is stymied by Bond's willingness to break through doors. Just when Parkour seemed to have lost its cinematic shine, we get Run, an indie action flick that hopes to infuse some fresh blood into the free-running genre by going 3D. It doesn't really work, and only fans of cheesy action flicks should bother with this one.
Daniel (William Mosoley, The Chronicles of Narnia) and his father are thieves who live by a strict set of rules. Daniel, however, impetuously breaks one, and the pair have to return to NYC to face their demons head on. Daniel is put in a new high school while his father tries to untangle the past from Daniel's mobster brother (Eric Roberts, The Expendables), who thinks Daniel's father had something to do with the death of his mother.
Two genres that did not need to mix: the teen film and the low-budget actioner. Sure, there are movies out there with kids and action set pieces, but they usually skew towards the teen audience, with happy endings and bright colors. Run, however, opts to take the adult route. We have a main character who is born after his mother dies from a gunshot, and he and his father are thieves hoping their mobster in-law/uncle doesn't bring the hammer down for his sister's death.
The first problem is that it's overly complicated. If this were just about a thief owning up to his past and dealing with the death of his wife, we'd be in solid action territory. Similarly, if the film mostly focused on the son using Parkour to fit into a new school after being on the run with his dad things would be okay, too. Instead, the former feels too heavy for the latter, and vice versa.
The second problem is that Parkour isn't enough to carry a film. It was used really well in the Bond flick because it helped drive character: though the free-runner looked really cool sliding through tight spaces, Bond was the real badass when he breaks through the door. Parkour as a practice is a kind of moving meditation, an interaction between practitioner and environment. Most films that feature it wisely make it both visually interesting and relatively rare in the narrative. Run makes the mistake of having both too much Parkour and not making it look interesting enough. It's especially tough to sit through since most of the Parkour is embedded in Daniel's narrative, making it seem more like a bad dance competition than a run-for-your-life proposition in most exciting Parkour-heavy films.
Run isn't a terrible film by any stretch. It's certainly a mediocre one, and one that leans too heavily on the gimmick of Parkour. However, those who've watched their fair share of action films will find something to like here. The action isn't as exciting as the best films in the genre, but the free-running angle might be enough to tempt those with a high tolerance for mediocrity. It's also always fun to see Eric Roberts play a gangster as he ages. There's a certain charm to watching the film to laugh at it, and I can see a number of fun and productive drinking games emerging from the film.
Run 3D (Blu-ray) is also decent. Both the 3D version of the film and the regular version are on one disc. The 1.78:1/1080p AVC-encoded image is pretty solid. Detail is strong throughout, with nice colors. Black levels aren't as deep as I'd like, but they are consistent and lacking in noise. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is similarly pretty good. Dialogue is clean and clear, and the surrounds get a bit of use during action scenes. The lone extra is a standard making-of featurette.
Run is a mediocre action film that tries to do a bit too much. To the standard action set pieces, it tries to add elements of thriller, comedy, and romance, and the mix is worse than the sum of its parts. Though it might make a fun curiosity for fans of Parkour and/or Eric Roberts, it's not recommended for the average viewer.
Guilty of mediocrity.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Millennium Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* 2D Version
* Official Site