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"RUN' FROM THIS ONE

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Run is a hyperactive action-adventure casting Patrick Dempsey as the collegiate incarnation of Bruce Willis. Regrettably, Dempsey better resembles Jonathan Silverman crossed with an antelope. Silverman is the whiny geek who co-starred in Weekend at Bernie's and Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. He is not the type of fellow who battles terrorists, mercenaries or mobsters.

That's the running joke in Run, a movie about a spindly law student hunted by a bunch of oversize thugs and corrupt police officers for the murder of a small-town crime boss' son.

Charlie Farrow (Dempsey) didn't kill the brute, Denny Halloran, who looks like a refrigerator with arms. But when Denny stumbles and hits his head on a marble counter while picking a fight with Charlie, Charlie is expected to pay with his life.

Run is like a balloon zooming around a room until it runs out of air. It's a non-stop compilation of preposterous situations with Farrow zipping around a seemingly endless town that has only one road in and one road out.

His only ally is a card dealer (Kelly Preston) he meets at a mob-run casino when the movie begins. She apparently cannot escape the town either, for she complains that if Farrow calls the FBI, he'll be rescued but she'll be destined to live and work there forever.

Dennis Shryack and Michael Blodgett's screenplay is crowd-pleasingly predictable, much like their canine cop comedy Turner & Hooch, which capitalized on the appeal of dog drool.

Run is an endless chase, much of it set in parking garages, permitting car mechanic-card shark-jogger Farrow the opportunity to steal innumerable cars to outwit his enemies.

The story operates at a hysterical level, with Farrow racing from one location to another _ parking lots, a mall, a dog track, a bowling alley _ and never thinking to remove his easily identifiable yellow jacket or to disguise his identity in any way.

Dempsey seems incapable of shading. Preston is a virtual blank. All the other characters are presented as caricatures: the good-hearted but corrupt police chief, the honest police lieutenant, the deranged mob boss who controls a city that somehow must be addicted to gambling.

Although director Geoff Burrowes (Return to Snowy River) handles the action sequences competently, there's little originality to the stunts, many of which are borrowed from such movies as F/X.

Run does, however, have the best death by a mechanical track rabbit scene ever recorded. That should be worth a footnote in the annuals of Hollywood when Run is long forgotten.

MOVIE REVIEW

Run

+

Director: Geoff Burrowes

Cast: Patrick Dempsey, Kelly Preston, Ken Pogue

Screenplay: Dennis Shryack & Michael Blodgett

Rating: R; violence, profanity

Running time: 91 minutes

Excellent +++++; Very good ++++;

Good +++; Mediocre ++; Poor +