Friday, December 26, 2008

Running Woman (1998)

Art restorationist Emily Russo (Theresa Russell) is framed for the murder of her young son, throwing her into a vast conspiracy involving the LAPD and a prominent philanthropist with a shady Government defense contract. Russo goes from being a grieving mother to a fugitive with a suitcase of disguises in no time flat. With the help of a secret brotherhood of Mexican priests, she can perhaps find peace and freedom.

A bit too polite, Running Woman is a chase thriller that should've been turned up a few notches. Theresa Russell's undercover investigation into the Latino gang banger scene never reaches the level of danger it deserves. Andrew Robinson as a LAPD detective is slimy and smarmy, but his über-fascist rants seem cut short. If you're going to spray the nerve gas Sarin into someone's face, please show the victim convulsing, foaming at the mouth, and turning green. In a film punctuated with boat chases, car chases, and helicopter explosions, restraint should be tossed out of the nearest window.

The reason to buy a ticket to this show is Theresa Russell, who is so cool that she can make the ridiculous character arc seem effortless. Her sly smile and naivety, particularly in her scene amongst the Latino low-rider enthusiasts, is adorably incongruous to the paranoid proceedings.

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