|RUNNING SCARED (1986)|
|Ray Hughes: "Pointing a gun at a police officer. Can we waste them for that?"
Danny Costanzo: "I think so."
|Time: 107 mins.|
My only guess as to why this film wasn't bigger is that neither Billy Crystal nor Gregory Hines were or are known as big "action" stars. This isn't to say that this is a big action movie, it's not, but it does have car chases and gun play which are really neither of their forte. The funny thing is, they are both believable as down and out Chicago cops trying to put their nemisis behind bars for good without getting killed in the crossfire. The film balances their humor and likability with the right amount of action to keep everything exciting and interesting.
It's not a new story Hughes and Costanza are just two cops trying to stay alive until they can retire while continuing to clean up the city from scumbags like Julio, played by Jimmy Smits (in one of his first roles). As hard as they try Julio keeps escaping justice which infuriates them. They corner one of their snitches, Snake, who works for Julio, and get him to bring them to where Julio is making a drug deal. Unfortunately, they almost get killed in the process of bringing him and the drugs in. Their captain forces them to take a vacation to clear their heads and gain some perspective, so they head down to Key West, Florida.
After spending some serious down-time in the sun, they decide to permanently retire and open a bar with money Costanza was recently left from his aunt who just passed away. On their return to Chicago, the captain laughs at their plans, reminding them how horrible it is to be a regular citizen, He then informs them that Julio is out of jail again. This time they go after him with a vengeance, but not without a few comically serious mishaps. Julio didn't get to be a bad guy for nothing. He kidnaps Costanza's ex-wife in order to force a trade for his cocaine. All ends as it should, but not without a spectacular shootout in one of Chicago's most famous buildings.
The joy of RUNNING SCARED is not it's plot, but it's characters and dialogue. Hines and Crystal are perfectly partnered. Both have impeccable comic timing and just enough gruff to seem somewhat dangerous. It is the moments where they try to one-up each other that are the most real and funny. I have watched this film numerous times and each viewing just cracks me up. I wish they would make a sequel, but I know it wouldn't be half as good. They captured the illusive "movie magic" on this one and it's best to just let that kind of thing lie. Because it doesn't rely on gigantic special effects or action sequences, RUNNING SCARED is the perfect action movie to see on video. Trust me, you won't regret it.