The title might be "Run", but the word they want you to know is parkour, which the back cover defines as "always moving forward despite obstacles within the environment." I've known the word only from that sample clip from "The Office" that comes on whenever I bring up the Hulu Plus app on my TV to remind myself why I don't subscribe to it, which defines parkour as "getting from point A to point B as creatively as possible." Anyways, there haven't been a lot of movies that focus on parkour (which despite its popularity, my word processor doesn't seem to recognize as a word), so "Run" attempts to fill that niche.
Our story begins in Detroit, where Danny (William Moseley, Peter from the Narnia series) uses his unique skills (climbing through windows and leaping from roof to roof like Spiderman) which he doesn't yet know are part of parkour to pull off thefts in order to make ends meet for him and his dad Mike (Adrian Pasdar). Through voice-over narration from Danny (which the filmmakers seem to forget about halfway through the movie), we learn that the two have been living like this for a while ever since Mike severed ties with Jeremiah (Eric Roberts), a New York "crime boss." Mike had been in love with Jeremiah's sister and conceived Danny with her, but a mix-up ended with her being killed when Danny was born and Jeremiah has been after Mike for revenge ever since. In Detroit, Danny comes close to being caught during one of his heists, so Mike packs up everything and moves as they've done several times. He decides this time however to head back to New York and try to make amends with Jeremiah and company.
They arrive in New York and Danny goes to high school under the fictitious name of "Sean." He quickly makes friends with Mark (Craig Henningsen), who runs with a group of people with names like "Squirrel" and "H" who do parkour in their spare time- in the school's gym, Mark defines parkour as "taking this whole place and turning it into a canvas- and you're the brush." They're impressed with Danny's skills and let him hang out at their secret practice spot, an old building that's undergoing remodeling but conveniently never has anybody come around. Meanwhile Mike is trying to get in touch with Jeremiah to call a truce, but his calls aren't being returned- instead Jeremiah sends his people, led by Lucius (Edoardo Ballerini), to hunt him down.
All of this mob business gets in the way of the parkour action that many will have checked out "Run" to see. There are a few energetic sequences (enhanced by being shot in 3D) where the group is at their hideout or on the street doing some impressive moves, running up the walls and doing backflips all while continuously moving forward, but the conflict between Mike and Jeremiah is really the main focus, and it's played out with TV-level acting and tons of clichés we've seen many times before. When Danny first meets the gang they talk about entering some sort of competition, but nothing ever comes of that by the time the movie ends.
Shot in true 3D with Red digital cameras, "Run" has a nice amount of depth in most scenes but there isn't a whole lot done to really show off the 3D, which may be a good thing to some viewers and not so much to others. It seems that 3D has reached the point where it's no longer mandatory to have any "look, we're in 3D!" moments. One could view this movie in 2D (which the disc gives you the option for) and not have the slightest idea it was even shot in 3D, much like Battle of the Year which I recently reviewed the 2D edition of. The best uses of 3D here are mainly a number of shots through fences or similar foreground objects with the actors behind, and there is a brief stand-off moment where guns are pointed towards the camera but not as an obvious 3D gimmick. When the gang is out perfecting their moves, some of that is shot first-person style which is a pretty neat effect, and there's also a scene with a fire at the hideout that makes good use of 3D.
Aspect ratio is a full 16x9, though it appears to be intended for 1.85 as the camera shade is visible in a few shots, and the clips shown in the included "making-of" piece are presented there in 1.85. The Blu-Ray does not show any compression artifacts and only slight gradient-banding (which has always been more evident in 3D from my experience than 2D).
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is pleasing, although there isn't a great amount of surround activity. The movie is filled with a good techno music score by Tree Adams which makes use of the LFE channel. A 2-channel matrix surround mix in standard Dolby Digital is also included, as are hearing-impaired subtitles (with words positioned across the screen similar to standard closed-captions) and Spanish subtitles.
A five-minute "Making of Run" featurette is included, with typical fast comments from the cast and crew along with clips from the movie. Not a whole lot is covered here, and shooting in 3D isn't even mentioned. The trailer for "Run" is also included, along with trailers for Parkland, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear, Charlie Countryman and Hell Baby. All of these are in HD with 2-channel sound, and although they're in 2D they are still flagged to keep your display in 3D mode. I preferred this for the most part, as switching between 2D and 3D on a disc triggers an annoying display on my TV and it's also awkward taking the glasses off and on.
Being a long-time fan of 3D, I'm always glad to see movies use it that aren't sci-fi, horror, or CG animated as those have tended to be the majority lately, but unfortunately the 3D isn't enough to save "Run" from being a mostly forgettable straight-to-video movie. The 3D photography is nice to look at, the music score is great and the parkour moments are impressive, but the whole "mob" plot just comes off silly- centering the movie around the mentioned tournament that never happens might have been a flimsier plot but still would have been a lot more entertaining and given the cast more time to do what they're good at.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.