Running Scared (1986)
Sweet Freedom. Say what you will about the sweet soulful voice of Michael McDonald but here we have a prime example of an 80s soundtrack tune that not only cooks but transplants you to a hot and exotic locale. I don’t care if it’s 23 degrees outside, if you hear “Sweet Freedom” you immediately want to book a flight to Turks and Caicos.
But besides the stupendous song, Running Scared is one helluva flick. An action-comedy, buddy-cop movie starring two individuals you would never expect in such a movie—Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. It’s amazing that these two guys not only have the chops to fire firearms and chase perps in Chicago but be asked to be in such a vehicle. But it works and it works fabulously! Their chemistry worked so great you’d think they made 4 other movies together. I sure wish they had. Crystal deserves way more respect and admiration then he gets. I think he’s a stand-up guy, very entertaining and really friggin’ funny. I haven’t seen every movie he’s in like My Giant or that Forget Paris but I wouldn’t complain if they happened to be the only thing to watch one night. And I definitely HAVE to see more of the late Gregory Hines career.
But looking back, this buddy cop movie came out a year before the archetypical buddy cop movie, Lethal Weapon. Also about retiring cops and one being African-American and the other Caucasian. I’m sure it was a coincidence but in many ways, I’d much rather watch Running Scared. It’s more original in that Hines and Crystal, despite being good cops, they want to retire because they are just so sick of being shot at and want to open a bar in Key West. That’s a great premise for a cop movie if you ask me. Midway through the film and nearly arresting the big boss man, played by Jimmy Smits, they quit and throw their hard-earned work out the window. It’s played for laughs more than Lethal Weapon which is really 25% comedy and the rest dramatic action.
If you haven’t seen Running Scared, do yourself a favor and do so immediately. I guarantee you’ll like it.