'Run' plods along for most of its time before it picks up the pace

Movies

February 05, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

''Run'' is a silly piece of business, a movie that travels at high speed, dumping logic as it does.

All this foolishness might have worked had the producers chosen to do the film as comic book, but they didn't. The tone doesn't change until the film is about over, and then it's too late.

The movie is exciting. Give it that. It spite of its foolishness, it entertains. Filmed in Vancouver, ''Run'' stars Patrick Dempsey as a Harvard Law School student who is sent on an errand. He is to drive a Porsche to Atlantic City. He is given $200 for his trouble, but he is in deep trouble shortly after he takes to the road.

When the car breaks down, he takes it to a garage, then hails a cab, the driver of which takes him to a ''restaurant'' that looks far more dangerous than it is inviting.

Right off, we know this Harvard kid is not too bright. Any sane man would have said, No thanks, I'll try a Hardee's, but our boy is not that fast. When he discovers that the ''restaurant'' is really a front for a gambling den, he is ecstatic because he is very good at cards.

Unfortunately, he is no good at judging human nature. Before he can finish his hand, he is being bullied by a madman who is accidentally killed when he lunges at the boy.

The dead man is the son of the padrone who owns the town, so none of the dozen or so witnesses will cooperate with the cops. This means the boy is going to have to run, fast, but you can't feel too sorry for him. This is one young man who makes the most of his own trouble.

The town looks like all those Southern towns that once dotted the television screen, places where outsiders were always in danger, places where the chiefs of police always looked like Ernest Borgnine. This one doesn't, but he isn't very honest, nor are most of the men on the force. Most are on the take, on the payroll of the padrone.

A young lady who works one of the gambling tables is equally untrustworthy, but you can't really hate her, not for long, because characters in this film turn from bad to good, then back again, with alarming ease.

When the film is about over, after dozens of automobiles have been destroyed, the Harvard man is smack in the hands of the bad guys. Will he survive? Well, of course, and when he does, the film is finally on track, where it should be, a cross between James Bond and Dick Tracy.

Dempsey is personable, and Kelly Preston is the pretty young woman who refuses to help, then changes her mind. When she is taken to a hospital, she tells the boy she will be all right. Sure, if the villains don't get to her, and the way this film is going, you can assume they will.

''Run'' runs on empty for too much of its running time. It is so full of implausibilities, you can't begin to accept the film, not until it settles on the path it should have taken at start.

When the movie is almost over, the Harvard man wonders if he can find a lawyer good enough to get him out of this mess. What he really needs is a good script doctor.

''Run''*

* A Harvard Law School student finds himself fleeing hoods and the police in a small New England town.

CAST: Patrick Dempsey, Kelly Poston, Ken Pogue

DIRECTOR: Geoff Burrowes

RATING: R (violence)

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

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