Day 295: Running Scared 1986

Day 295
Saturday 21 April 2018  11.14pm
Running Scared  1986

A Peter Hyams Film

My wife felt like watching a film like Die Hard (1988) tonight as she comes to terms with unwinding from a stressful working week. But it can’t be Die Hard because you can’t return to the well to often. That means, no Lethal Weapon (1987), no Speed (1994), no Beverly Hills Cop (1984), The Fugitive (1993) or U.S Marshals (1998), and puts us in the land of knock-offs and rip-offs.

I chose a selection of films with that brief in mind and then added Limitless, which I thought was a pretty good attempt at a sci-fi thriller. I also chose The Taking of Pelham One Two Three as another non-action option. Action-options were Taken  (1984), Under Siege (1992), Unknown (2011), Rush Hour 1 (1988), 2 (2001) and 3 (2007), or Running Scared.

It was one of those awkward moments when a film you thought was pretty good twenty years ago gets the complete non-response from the person sitting beside you. There were at least three really funny lines in the film. Nothing from her. She was watching The Shining (1980) or Schindler’s List (1993). Whatever it was she was watching it wasn’t what I was watching.

Now, I know, if you want to watch a film like Die Hard and you can’t choose Die Hard, that limits the field to such an extent that if you take out The Fugitive and Speed, you’re left with that peculiar moment when you burp and unexpectedly a little bit of food from an hour or two before – with quite a few intestinal juices attached – comes up into the back of your mouth. It’s got that nice flavour and then it’s suddenly a not so pretty replica of what was previously a really nice meal.

Other than a really good James Bond film, like Casino Royale or Skyfall, or Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark or Temple of Doom, or the best Jason Bourne film, or Salt, there’s slim pickin’s.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) qualifies for the second tier, but after that it’s knock-offs and rip-offs.

My wife chose poorly tonight, a film with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines which I thought was good in 1986, and then again in 1988 and 1990. 22-years later it doesn’t hold-up like it did then. As she said, “I thought it was lame.

The sequence where the chase was on the ‘L’ was amazing in 1986. The sequence at the end in the building with the high ceilings and the lifts and the shootout was quite satifactory in 1986. It all came off feeling like lame ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ mixed with a buddy-cop-film. But every chase and joke has been better done since then.

In 1986, Running Scared a was bloody good movie (and if my memory serves me, it made $40 or $50 million dollars at the U.S. Box Office – 1986 – that’s like $150 million in today’s dollars). Everyone I knew then thought it had action and comedy, and (while it wasn’t brilliant, it was damn good!)

We’re so spoilt for action films now that Bullitt (1968) and The French Connection (1971) would be like going on a merry-go-round instead of the latest rollercoaster. My wife said after twenty-five minutes, “There’s a lot of talk so far, when’s the action going to start?”

So, next time the wife wants an action film like Die Hard, if she doesn’t want to ACTUALLY watch Die Hard, she better pick a better chick flick than Bad Moms (2016).