Running Scared (1986) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
83 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Unoriginal but great fun
bob the moo21 December 2001
Wisecracking Chicago cops Ray and Danny tackle drug lord Julio Gonzales in a battle of wits across the city. Essentially the plot doesn't matter, this is just another buddy cop movie from the eighties. However it rises above others by being good fun throughout. It even takes a break from the action midway for the two to go and live on the beach and lay low for a while.

The main reason it is so much fun is the chemistry between Hines and Crystal. It's very easy to believe that they are partners of many years. Crystal is especially funny but really they both make it good. Even chase scenes and action scenes contain witty dialogue throughout. Smits is not a great villain but he carries the role well and the supporting cast are impressive with other future big names Dan Hedaya and Joe Pantoliano.

Overall it's not a classic - it's a buddy cop movie. But even now it still feels fresh and fun due to the partnership of Hines and Crystal. Watch it, like the characters, enjoy the action and laugh at the comedy - a wonderful example of how the buddy cop genre can be good when everything is just right.
22 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very funny movie with inspired teaming
gcd702 October 2007
Very funny cop/buddy movie that owes a lot to the inspired teaming of Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. The script may not be much, but it has enough in it to keep the audience interested, while director Peter Hyams keeps the action and, more importantly, the comedy, rolling at a good pace. For it is the comedy that makes this picture.

Hines and Crystal are in great form. They play off each other wonderfully, and their comic timing is perfect as they deliver some hilarious lines. Situation after situation will have you in stitches in this film. Writers Gary De Vore and Jimmy Huston certainly have a sharp sense of humour.

Tuesday, July 7, 1992 - Video
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The original buddy-comedy action film
ManBehindTheMask639 May 2012
"Running Scared" was released one year before "Lethal Weapon". Followed by "Tango & Cash", "Last Boy Scout", and "Showdown In Little Tokyo". "Running Scared" seems to be a forgotten 80's classic. Not many people mention it when discussing great buddy-cop films. But they should.

The chemistry between Crystal and Hines is magical. Both actors bring a lot to the table and their comic timing is perfect. They make a great duo and it's a shame a sequel never followed. This film is ripe for rediscovery. Some great actors pop up in supporting roles as well. If you dig any of the buddy-cop movies that followed it, watch this film. Good action, good laughs, great movie.
27 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
wdeadder5 November 2002
It's predictable. It's typical. It's very 80s. It's also very good. As was said before, the chemistry between the two stars is incredible. If you liked Beverly Hills Cop, you'll love this film (in fact, I just watched them both back to back, and enjoyed them both equally). It is non-stop one liners that drip with wit. As 80s cop movies go, this is among the best. There are tonnes of great scenes.
38 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I liked the funny parts, and the car chase
vchimpanzee5 September 2004
Danny and Ray are Chicago police detectives who are searching for information on Gonzales, a major drug dealer. In Snake's neighborhood, just driving a Mercedes is enough for probable cause, and Gonzales is guilty of that, but it's not enough.

After a major development in the Gonzales case, the guys go to Key West on vacation. Aunt Rose just died (Danny almost missed the funeral, but his ex Anna didn't) and left Danny a lot of money. So perhaps it's time to buy a bar in Key West and retire.

Back from vacation, Danny and Ray are back on the case, and their adventure includes an exciting car chase that involves the tracks of the El. Later things get REALLY dangerous.

There was nothing great about this movie, though it was funny most of the time. A little violent, but not excessive for a cop movie. The language was cleaned up in this version, and there was a lot of cleaning up to do. Billy Crystal has been better, but he was still funny. Dan Hedaya was very convincing as the captain.

Some highlights: Danny announces to the tough guys in Snake's neighborhood how much money Snake has and how easy it is to get it, hoping Snake will agree to help get Gonzales. Also, the guys get held up by two hoods who aren't that determined.

This was pretty good. It's really for those who are fans of this type of movie.
18 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hines and Crystal, cops of the 80's
Petey-1015 July 2011
Gregory Hines (Ray Hughes) and Billy Crystal (Danny Costanzo) form a cop-buddy duo who are after a bad guy called Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits).Running Scared (1986) is directed by Peter Hyams.Crystal and the late great Hines make a great pair as those two cops.And Smits makes a great villain.Joe Pantoliano also does neat job as a baddie they call Snake.Dan Hedaya is quite excellent as Captain.Darlanne Fluegel does very fine job as Anna Costanzo.Larry Hankin appears as Ace, and he's very good.John LaMotta is seen as Evidence Officer.Running Scared doesn't do anything that memorable to make it a classic, but it does entertain enough.The ending works, and the chase on train tracks looks pretty cool.To all those who dig buddy cop movies of the 80's this is worth checking out.
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
entertaining bromance
blanche-24 May 2017
Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines star in "Running Scared" from 1986. Joining them are Jimmy Smits, Steven Bauer, Dan Hedeya, and Joe Pantoliano.

Danny and Ray (Crystal and Hines) are two Chicago cops who are sent on a vacation when they are nearly killed during a case.

The two go to Florida and decide to quit the force and open a bar. Since Danny has been left money by his aunt, he is able to buy a rundown building they can refurbish.

When they return to Chicago, the drug dealer that almost killed them, Julio (Smits) is working on a big drug deal. They decide to close that case before leaving the force. They find that, with an eye toward retirement, it's not as easy as they thought.

Comedians, for some reason, don't have a long shelf life in terms of film stardom - witness Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Robin Williams - after a time, even if they stay in movies, their roles become less.

Billy Crystal is another example. Marvelously funny, there's no doubt that some of his improvisational skills were utilized in "Running Scared," and he and the late Hines make a great pair. Though this isn't a great movie, it's definitely fun, filled with humorous repartee and one hilarious car chase. At one point, the two are robbed and beg to keep their wallets, especially their badges, which they show to the perps.

Many funny moments and some great music, including the wonderful "Sweet Freedom" sung by Michael McDonald. The actors also appear in a video of the song, which can be seen on youtube.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good acting in this buddy-cop movie
nucksfan4life7 September 2002
Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines are an unlikely, but successful acting pair. They make "Running Scared" an alright movie. Both are funny and play off each other very well. The plot in buddy-cop movies is almost always the same, its the actors that make a difference in this genre of film. "Running Scared" works because the two lead actors give great comedic performances. Oh, and if you're ever feeling nostalgic for the '80s, watch this movie!
23 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Delight
clay_thompson13 April 2006
There are films, when going in, you don't expect much and then are pleasantly surprised. This was one of those films. It was difficult for me to picture Billy Crystal as an undercover cop, but he was very good in this. The focus of the movie was mostly on Billy, but there was a wonderful chemistry between him and Gregory Hines. It is not a date movie, but is great to see with a buddy. If you are just a bit off center, and have a friend who is equally off center, but one who balances you, this is a movie that you can thoroughly enjoy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and hoped we could have a re-teaming of Crystal and Hines, but Gregory Hines untimely death robbed us of that.

Watch it, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Ohhhhh Nooooo!
22 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Crystal and Hines are an awesome duo
Mr-Fusion6 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's a funny thing with "Running Scared": even though this is thoroughly a Chicago movie (with that cold winter atmosphere), it's the Key West scenes that spring to mind when this movie is mentioned. I can't explain it.

This is a pretty by-the-numbers cop movie, with two wild man detectives bending the rules in the name of recklessness. It does have a pretty decent car chase (even taking a detour on the L), the shootout in the State building was surprisingly tense, and there's always the smokin' Darlanne Fleugel.

But the real magic is the chemistry between the two leads. Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines make for unlikely pairing, but it totally works here (and the movie hinges on their camaraderie, at that). And seeing these guys work together is absolutely worth the price of admission.

7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
When it's good, it's very, very good.... but when it's bad it's horrid.
barnabyrudge29 June 2004
Peter Hyams is a director who always delivers exhilarating action sequences but struggles to fill the quiet moments in his films with anything of substance. Yet again he has fashioned a film which is intermittently terrific - especially when the emphasis is on action - but during moments when plot and character development are thrust to the fore, things become decidedly mediocre. Still, at least Billy Crystal is on hand to provide some memorable verbal wit.

Two Chicago cops, Crystal and Gregory Hines, are busily trying to put various scumbags behind bars for drug crimes. Their main target is Julio Gonzalez (Jimmy Smits), a big-time drug lord who constantly eludes their grasp. For a while, the guys leave wintry Chicago and sample the good life in Key West, Florida, but ultimately they just can't let unfinished business lie. Against their better judgement, they return to Chicago to finish the one job they've still got to complete.... the capture of Gonzalez.

Hyams delivers one simply awesome chase in which the heroes pursue their quarry by car, but somehow end up driving on the city's elevated-railway tracks. He also manages to squeeze in a genuinely funny scene in which Crystal makes a wacky anonymous phone-call, complete with goofy voice. However, Hyams is let down - yet again - by the periodic lulls in his story. The whole Key West sequence is boring, even though it bears relevance to the plot. And on too many occasions, Crystal's marital troubles interfere with the story (again, they are certainly relevant, but are played in a very dull way). It's worth watching Running Scared once, but during subsequent viewings it might be advisable to fast-forward through the dreary scenes to get to the good bits.
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good and unfairly forgotten action comedy from the 80's
Maziun30 November 2013
This is a sadly forgotten 80's action comedy . It's more comedy than action , but it's definitely an enjoyable and fun movie coming from not that bad director as other want you to believe - Peter Hyams. It's pure 80's fun that stood the test of time . The only thing that might be outdated is the super car chase (which I like) . The action scenes are done well and the final is really exciting . The movie is fast and funny.

Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines have good chemistry together. It's fun to watch them arguing with each other. It's also refreshing to see they are already friends at the beginning of movie and know how to work with each other. They act like big kids and are adorable.

It was good to see Joe Pantoliano ("Memento") and Darlanne Fluegel ("To live and die in LA") in supporting roles. The soundtrack is nice with songs by Patti LaBelle " I know what I want" and Fee Waybill "Running scared" .

Good fun from the era of best action comedies. I give it 6/10.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Running on Full
sol-14 July 2016
Disciplined after blowing the cover on an undercover operation, two Chicago cops consider retiring and opening a bar until an opportunity arises to capture the drug lord who they had been after for years in this action comedy starring Bill Crystal and Gregory Hines. The pacing of the movie is all over the place with a montage of the pair vacationing coming off as a particular distraction from the crime thriller central subplot, but the film survives on account of the great chemistry between Crystal and Hines. The pair's constant bickering and bantering over who fired which shots works very well and there are several memorable moments, ranging from the pair stripping down to their long underwear at gunpoint to the pair coaxing a henchman (a young Joe Pantoliano) into letting them arrest him. While there are highlights for sure, the climax is unfortunately not one of them, and everything seems so ludicrous and overblown at the end, with a key supporting character conveniently being kidnapped no less, that it is difficult to become immersed in the action. The rivalry between the pair and another duo of more athletic police officers also only works around half the time since the other two severely lack charisma. Overall, 'Running Scared' may be a bit of a mixed bag, but it is at least curiously different to the original script, conceptualised as a vehicle for Gene Hackman and Paul Newman (!). The film is often credited as sparking the buddy-buddy cop action comedy trend of the 1980s, though 'Freebie and the Bean' might deserve that honour instead.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
final Jeopardy is on!
tomloft20007 August 2008
yes the plot is implausible,and so politically incorrect that you can't believe.but the film does what it sets out to do-entertain.this is ground that has been covered before(Beverly Hills Cop as an example),but never in a way that is as much fun.the screenplay is o.k.,with the best dialogue reserved for Hines-Crystal banter.the other characters are basically filler.but generally well done(Joe Pantoliano as Snake is great).there are a few dead spots in the film,but these are usually rescued by Hines and/or Crystal,who seemed to be having a lot of fun.there is a fantastic chase scene late in the movie that alone makes it worth watching.altogether this '80's buddy movie still holds up.mostly because of the insanity of the two leads.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Why No One is Calling This a Classic is Beyond Me
monkeysgalore14 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I honestly really enjoyed this movie, and I still can't believe I had to go looking for movies almost identical to this to find it. Everyone who talks about buddy cop action comedies says "48 HRS", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Lethal Weapon", "Red Heat", "Stakeout", "Tango & Cash", "Rush Hour", and then new ones, like "21 Jump Street" and its sequel, "2 Guns", and the "Bad Boys" movies. But really, this movie predated all of the aforementioned films except for the first two, and it's still not receiving the kind of credit it deserves.

This 1986 action comedy features Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as Danny Costanzo and Ray Hughes, two Chicago cops who are looking to retire. The two are on a stakeout when they see a drug dealer they recently put away, Julio Gonzales, on the street, and this leads to the eventual bust-gone-wrong, where the two unwittingly blow the cover of two cops trying to nail Gonzales, but they do end up catching him. Gonzales makes bail however, and Danny and Ray are instructed to take a vacation, and they head to Key West, Florida. Once they get back, they put in gear and pull out all the stops to and Gonzales.

Peter Hyams did a great job directing here, and he really let Crystal and Hines carry the movie, and didn't rely on an overabundance of action to make the film work. Letting the two leads have fun really made the film both more enjoyable and memorable, but when the action did come, he directed it pretty well, and nothing was ever too far-fetched, the train track car chase aside. I'll definitely be on the lookout for future works from Hyams, and I also enjoyed his 1988 buddy cop film, "The Presidio", though this film was much more enjoyable in my opinion, both as an action film, and just a film in general.

As far as comedy goes, it's excellent, and there are some great laughs. Crystal and Hines have legendary chemistry, and they play so well off of each other it's insane. The script really gives them room to work and joke around, and a lot of their dialogue seemed improvised, which only added to the charm of the movie. There are also the scenes with the obligatory antagonistic pair of cops who dislike the protagonists, and those didn't get old either.

There is, honestly, little to offer in the action department, but what is there is slick, well-made, memorable sequences that seem at least somewhat realistic. There is a small shootout in an alley near the beginning, a shootout on a boat on a dock, a shootout in an apartment, a fast-paced car chase on train tracks, and a final, explosive shootout in which Danny and Ray head into a large building, armed to the teeth and aided by two other cops, to get Gonzales and save Danny's ex-wife. The car chase especially was very memorable, and might actually rank among my favorite film car chases.

As I said, this film is criminally underrated, and its really only recognized by 80s action/buddy cop film enthusiasts like myself, though even in those circles I feel it doesn't really get its due. It was greatly overshadowed by the obviously superior "Lethal Weapon", which started the buddy cop fad that the 80s and 90s were so in love with, though this film should get more credit for revolutionizing it, along with "48 HRS" and "Freebie and the Bean".

I would definitely recommend this film, and it's such a classic, well-made example of a buddy cop film. 10/10.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Honest Review
generationofswine1 December 2016
It's not a great movie by ANY stretch of the imagination.

If you want to get in there and over analyze it, then you'll not a plot line that is pretty far fetched. Typical 80s action movie plot. And threads that don't seem to fit and some over-the-top acting and cops clearly doing things that they would NEVER have gotten away with, even in 1986.

But if you are looking at all of that than you also clearly don't understand that you're watching a comedy and a pretty entertaining one at that.

Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal are absolutely amazing together, to the point that the viewer is almost depressed they weren't paired up more often. There is something hysterical going on between the two of them that seems to seep from somewhere off camera.

It makes it a lot of fun to watch, because you get the sense that the pair were having a great time off screen and you, the viewer, is coming into a party that already hit full steam.

It's like watching an Emilio Estevez movie, especially when he was younger and everything he did felt like you were watching a man that loved his work.

It's always refreshing watching people that look like they are having fun and in a comedy like this it translates well and makes for a very entertaining show.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
dabooneman819 March 2004
This is great movie for fans of (the late great) Gregory Hines or Billy Crystal.I not too big on Crystal,although Analyze this/that were funny.I like this performance more.He played a serious role,especially

when someone kidnapped somebody he loved.He and Hines cracked jokes and worked great together.It took me nearly 13 years to finally watch it,uncut,commercial free, unlike they show on TBS or TNT or any other.I have this thing about watching Movies on tv,(No Nudity,no cursing,edited scenes and commercials)You're not seeing the movie as it was intended.So even though i would glance at it for a second,I"d turn from it.I rented it at blockbuster in 99'bought Vhs in 2000.Dvd in 2002.Even though,I knew of it and saw it at various video stores.I finally got around to it. I love the title song playing in the opening sequence with the city of Chicago and it's people. It had great music all around, especially the Michael McDonald classic"Sweet Freedom". Every time i heard it on the radio I thought about the movie.It had a music video go with it, that had Hines and Crystal singing,dancing,and acting funny. I wish the Dvd had put that and a director's commentary on there along with the outtakes. It had a bunch of funny scenes -too many to name.Having to give their pants up for Julio Gonzalez(Jimmy Smits)and the jokes that followed.Or when they're hanging upside down in a trash compactor arguing about $10 dollars-.I love the scene where Hines and Crystal get held up,but the criminals bolted in their car ,and i looked as if they got away,but the truck forced them drive back into Hines and Crystal.The smile those two give each other are priceless.When a kid at a house of a lady they're questioning keeps giving Hines the bird.The lady shuts her door.Hines knocks,the kid answers and Hines gives him the bird Yelling "Yessssssss". Their vacation time in Florida had good scenery-motorcycles,women,fishing boat,roller skates, and the idea to retire from the cop business.Oh,yes and "Sweet Freedom"playing through it.The Chase from the airport onto train tracks was awesome.The shootout in the building, in the last scene in the movie was good.These scenes are few of many, that stand out to me.This movie had action,witty dialogue,smart,intelligent-just plain great and funny.Now Hines and Crystal took different film routes after this. Crystal -comedies,So his one and only action movie he did a great job,.It was a physical role for him too.Running,jumping, shooting.He had a seriousness about him too.Hines went onto-action,and dramas .So in that time and space ,they were wonderful . If you liked Beverly Hills Cop,Bad Boys-one similarity is Martin Lawrence and Will Smith get held up for their car ,like Hines and Crystal for their wallets. The movie worked the same formula for the genre as those.Sad it wasn't as big at the box office like them.That's probably why a sequel wasn't made.Although the chemistry was there. Commenting on it- "makes me wants to go and watch it right

now!!!!!!" I give it a 10 out of 10********* R.I.P - Gregory Hines
18 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
More solid '80s action
pmtelefon6 April 2020
If there was a genre that defined the movies of the 1980s it would be the action comedy. They made a whole bunch of them back then and a lot them were really good. "Running Scared" is one of the good ones. I remember seeing this movie in the theater (Sunrise Multiplex, Valley Stream, NY). I liked it then and after many viewing since, I still like it. This a very funny movie with a lot of great action scenes. Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines are a great team. Their banter back and forth is terrific. The rest of the cast is also very good. I am a fan of the films of director Peter Hyams. I think Hyams is a very underrated director and a borderline Hall of Famer.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Show me another career they let you shoot people.
hitchcockthelegend27 March 2019
Running Scared is directed by Peter Hyams (also on cinematography duties) and written by Gary DeVore, Gary DeVore and Jimmy Huston. It stars Billy Crystal, Gregory Hines, Steven Bauer, Darlanne Fluegel, Joe Pantoliano, Dan Hedaya, Jon Gries, Tracy Reed and Jimmy Smits. Music is by Rod Temperton.

The buddy buddy action/comedy cop formula has proved to be a most viable filmic commodity over the years. It gathered apace in the 1980s and right at the forefront is this often forgotten fun little treasure.

Plot has Hines and Crystal as Chicago cops, tough and full of wise cracks, they are tasked with trying to bring down high profile drug dealer Julio Gonzales (Smits). The timing is unfortunate because after a holiday in Key West the boys decide they have had enough of police work and want to retire there. Can they bring down Julio Gonzales? Can they stay alive in the process? Questions to be answered in an entertaining hour and forty five minutes.

The chemistry between Hines and Crystal is set in stone, they are a great pairing and very quickly you warm to them. As per genre requirements some of their character's methods are unconventional. the gags are thick and fast, and crucially very funny - while the support slots are nicely filled (Pantoliano a joy).

In the mix as the two cops ponder retirement is the looming presence of two younger cops ready to step into their shoes, which of course makes for sparky rivalry. There's the emotional beat of "the ex-wife" as a critical plot development, though amazingly Fluegel is under written and hardly in the piece! And Smits never fully convinces as the chief villain, but he also is weirdly under written.

Basically if you have a kink for this type of genre piece, especially ones produced in the 80s - and to have an understanding of that decades style of film making - then there's a good time to be had here. 7/10
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Excellent Buddy-Cop Movie
eric26200329 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Even though I consider "Running Scared" a guilty pleasure movie, I like to sit back every so often to watch this movie which i like to describe as a "poor man's" "Lethal Weapon". Although it's not the greatest buddy-cop film ever made, but it still ranks high in entertainment, witty dialog and to top it all off, the wonderful chemistry between the two leads (Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines). It feels as if the two knew each other since childhood, almost as if they were like brothers; they hug, they argue, they throw insults at one another, but most of all, they stick by each other especially when one or both are in danger.

Most reviewers will tell you everything you need to know about "Running Scared", but I'll just make it short and straight to the point. Ray Hughes (Hines) and Danny Costanzo (Crystal)are a pair of devoted cops who are willing to sacrifice their own lives and maybe even their own jobs thanks to their reckless ways and their rule-breaking tactics. After spending a quiet time from the mean streets of Chicago, to the sunny skies in Florida,by order of their boss, a major drug ring operation is in tact. A familiar face named Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits) who has tried to kill them before, puts our two heroes in danger who try to play it safe and to avoid being killed. In an unorthodox manner, they call for backup and start sporting bulletproof vests.

From other reviewers, many like me, compare this movie to "Lethal Weapon", and "Die Hard" which is a good comparison, but the genre is more reliant on action rather than comedy. "Beverly Hills Cop" is in the right direction, but the best connection to "Running Scared" is "Stakeout" starring Emilio Estevez and Richard Dreyfus which a buddy-cop comedy, with plenty of exciting comedy but the chemistry between Dreyfus and Estevez is very much like the chemistry Hines and Crystal depict here. But overall "Running Scared" has the chemistry between the two cops that can't be compared which is what makes this buddy-cop movie extraordinary. It deserves at least one look.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Running Cool!!!
zardoz-1320 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Outland" director Peter Hyams' "Running Scared" is a fast-paced, Chicago-based, buddy picture, police procedural melodrama. Interesting enough, "Running Sacred" is reminiscent of earlier thriller that Hyams helmed "Busting" (1974), with Robert Blake and Elliot Gould. Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines are cast as two unlikely but charismatic detectives in hot pursuit of a murderous drug dealer. Bristling with amusing wisecracks and agile shootouts, "Running Scared" is straightforward enough but predictable with our heroes doing very little that is ultimately surprising. Nevertheless, you've never seen Billy Crystal as macho as he appears here, and he never did anything like "Running Scared" afterward. Jimmy Smits is cast as a wannabe 'godfather' gangster, and he is reasonably vindictive. The memorable soundtrack featured songs performed by Klymaxx, Michael McDonald, New Edition, and Patti LaBelle. "Man Sized Love," "Sweet Freedom," and "I Know What I Want" were among the hits that "Running Scared" yielded.

Everything starts with our plainclothes heroes, Danny Costanzo (Billy Crystal of "Analyze This") and Ray Hughes (Gregory Hines of "Waiting to Exhale"), on stake-out when they spot notorious cocaine dealer Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits of "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones") and his flunky Snake (Joe Pantoliano of "U.S. Marshals") in a low-rent neighborhood getting out of a Mercedes. A chase ensues. Our heroes nab Snake, but Julio manages to elude them until. They follow Snake to his apartment, and he admits that he is carrying $50-thousand dollars in an attaché case. Later, when Snake agrees to wear a wire and take them to meet Julio, things go south and Snake bites the dust. During this shootout, our heroes run afoul of a pair of DEA agents, Detective Frank Sigliano (Steven Bauer of "Scarface") and Det. Tony Montoya (Jon Gries of "Napoleon Dynamite"), and their superior, Captain Logan (Dan Hedaya of "Wise Guys") reads them the riot act and makes them take a vacation. The guys go about as far away from Chicago as they can possibly get and wind up in Key West, Florida, where they are amazed that everybody comes out to watch the sun set. One of the running subplots involves Costanzo's ex-wife, Anna (Darlanne Fluegel of "To Live and Die in L.A."), who likes to show up when Danny least expect her. Eventually, Julio abducts her so that he can recover his cocaine.

"Dogs of War" scenarist Gary DeVore and "Final Exam's" Jimmy Huston pile up the clichés in their thoroughly average screenplay. To his credit, Hyams doesn't allow the action to loiter, and we get a few rewarding action scenes, including a reckless chase on the L tracks through Chicago and a cool scene where our heroes are trapped in an undercover cop car made to look like a taxi cab as a garbage truck crushes them while they struggle to get out of it. As is the case, Hyams doubles up as the cinematographer and director. Dan Hedaya enlivens the scenes at police headquarters, but he never shouts at his detectives. Many of the critics who wrote about this movie during its initial release complained about the bogus snow on the streets. "Running Scared" boasts all the earmarks of a quintessential 1980s' police drama.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bad guys get the cool cars....
FlashCallahan19 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Danny and Ray are two street wise cops in Chicago. When they are almost killed on a case, they are forced to take a vacation by their captain.

Key West offers a substantial change over frozen Chicago. They decide to quit and open a bar in Key West.

Upon returning, they find that Julio, the drug dealer who nearly killed them has made bail and is trying to complete a giant drug deal.

They decide to complete their case against Julio before quitting, but then begin being careful.

Their effectiveness drops as they find they can't operate the way they did before if they don't have the edge of a long time commitment....

This is another one of those movies that disappeared without a trace, and has never really popped up on TV for nearly fifteen years.

It's not the best buddy cop movie of the eighties by far (thats Lethal Weapon), but it's still fun movie while it lasts.

Crystal and Hines are the best of friends and this is clear because Crystal always walks into Hines' apartment when he's getting down and dirty with the ladies.

They laugh and swear and get into scrapes, and take a vacation. This is a strange scene, as it just shows them as a pair of awful awful people, and the worst thing about it is the fact that Crystal is all oiled up and flexing his muscles.

And then it's back to basics, Jimmy Smits is back on the street, and the guys must get him before the end of the film.

We are then treated to a coupe of car chases, with a few one liners and an impressive final set piece.

It's a shame i've seen this film quite a while after it was made, because I have seen so many buddy cop movies since and they have been a lot more slickly made and are a little more entertaining.

That said, it's choc full of eighties cheese and Crystal and Hines are great together.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not a movie I love but it's ok
utgard1419 November 2020
80s buddy cop movie that has a pretty good reputation, but for some reason I've never been able to get that into it. I like the leads and they are by far the best thing this movie has going for it. They have a nice friendly chemistry and banter well with one another. I can buy these guys as buddies. But the story is just as routine as it gets even by 1986 standards. Also Jimmy Smits is the villain. Who's afraid of him? Criticisms aside it's not a bad movie. It's very watchable thanks to Hines and Crystal but it does feel a little blah and ultimately forgettable. But hey I do like the soundtrack.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A great Chicago cop film
LCShackley24 June 2007
I had the opportunity to revisit this fun film last week and enjoyed it just as much as when I saw it first-run 20 years ago. For me, there are two things that make it such a winner: the match-up of Crystal and Hines, which was unfortunately not repeated, and the Chicago scenery. Adding in Darlanne Fluegel was just icing on the cake. And speaking of icing, any Chicagoan will laugh frequently during this film at the pitiful imitation snow, which looks more like frosting than precipitation (especially when you see it laying on top of very green tree leaves).

Crystal was hot at the time after his year on SNL, and he manages to work in some of his character shtick here without sidetracking the plot. Hines had recently done White Nights and Cotton Club, so he was also on a roll. The two of them work naturally together in the funny AND serious moments of the film, and the dialog is crisp and clever. There are loads of buddy-cop clichés here, but for some reason they work well. Peter Hyams deserves credit for his snappy direction and good camera work, and for making good use of the locations.

Speaking of the locations, let me add my own comments about the Chicago scenery. Gregory Hines' apartment is a building at the SW corner of Franklin St. and Institute Place. Lots of HILL STREET location work was also done on Franklin St because of the L tracks above the pavement. That building is also one block from the Chicago Avenue L station, which is a favorite of filmmakers because of the S curve of the tracks (you can see this station in DOZENS of films and TV shows). I used to work a block from there and everything was very familiar!

There are some disconnects in the car chase scene. They leave O'Hare and turn off at River Road, and next thing you know, they're on a surface level CTA track, which I'm guessing is somewhere on the Ravenswood line (but nowhere near the airport). Next thing you know, they're entering the subway, which is quite far from where they started. And in the subway scene you can tell (thanks to DVR) that the tracks are merely painted reflective lines on concrete. (I never spotted that in the theater!) They pass through the Chicago avenue station, and what appears to be the curve by the Merchandise Mart station, and the crash takes place at the LaSalle/Van Buren station, which is at the south end of the Loop. (I'm 99% sure I could read the sign during that scene, as well as a billboard for the Channel 5 news team.) During the chase on the train tracks, you'll notice how cleverly Hyams intercuts low POV shots (not showing cars) with the shots of the cars themselves.

Also, in the final ride to the State of Illinois building: they head south on Franklin (follow along on Google maps!) then turn left (east) on Grand at the big Zimmerman liquor store. Next time you see them, they're crossing the river on Michigan avenue coming south by the Wrigley building, a shot obviously inserted for scenic value only. Why? Because any Chicagoan with half a brain would have turned down LaSalle Street and gone straight to the goal, rather than driving all the way to Michigan just to cruise the shops on the Magnificent Mile! But, who cares? I love Chicago! And I love this flick!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
My coke! My cooooooooooke!!
culwin9 November 2001
Oh sure, there are PLENTY of movies about running. And then there are movies about being scared. But if you are looking for the one movie that combines BOTH, then this one is for you!! Actually, this is just another buddy cop movie along the lines of 48 hours. What more do you need to know? Nothing spectacular, but it makes fine entertainment at 2 in the morning. Watch Billy Crystal make funny voices and laugh.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed