Released: 5th May
Seen: 9th July
As a general rule I try my hardest not to let my personal politics impact my enjoyment of a film. I won’t pretend I don’t have intellectual differences with certain films ideas, I even spell them out in order to give context, but I can and have enjoyed movies with values I don’t agree with made by companies run by people who I don’t agree with… so, even though this movie was released in the US by Ben Shapiro’s website, The Daily Caller, a site I would consider a gateway drug to fascism and white supremacy, I promise you that connection had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the film… no, because in order to enjoy this film I would have to have little to no good taste even before I looked into its connections because it’s just so poorly made.
Run, Hide, Fight follows Zoe (Isabel May), your regular outcast girl who isn’t like other girls. She’s a tough girl who wears her father’s camo and goes on hunting trips, making her somewhat of a pariah at her school where no one really understands or likes her at all. Her school day is boring until a van is driven into the school cafeteria by Tristan Voy (Eli Brown) who had brought with him a gaggle of friends with plans to do a major school shooting and become famous doing it, but he didn’t plan on Zoe being a badass who knows all kinds of secret techniques to take him down.
So, very obviously, Run, Hide, Fight is a Die Hard rip-off and not exactly a good one. We’ve seen Die Hard rip offs before many times, most recently with Skyscraper which was such a blatant Die Hard rip-off that it was almost charming. This isn’t charming, it’s just kind of sad. Taking on the John McClaine role is this character of Zoe and she is about as interesting as a block of soap that’s been left in the sun. She has no character beyond “Obvious tough guy” and while her performance is insanely committed, there’s nothing to latch onto at any point about her as a person.
Maybe she’d be interesting if she was bouncing off a good Hans Gruber substitute… but she’s not, she’s up against Tristan who is such an irritating character that I can’t even hate him, I just tune him out. It’s one of the hammiest performances in Run, Hide, Fight (which is saying a lot with this piece of garbage) and at no point is he threatening, even while brandishing a huge knife. If they were trying to show just how pathetic school shooters are then maybe they pulled it off, but it sucks either way.
Hell, speaking of that topic, the actual school shooting element of Run, Hide, Fight is almost a farce. The shooters have storm trooper aim unless they’re at point blank range, and then people fly around like rag dolls. It’s not scary, I’m not terrified, I’m bored. You know how bored? I sat there realising that Glee did this exact plot (or close enough to it) and they did it better… congrats movie, you were out-tensioned by a Glee episode titled Shooting Star that featured a character singing an Elton John song, I hope you’re happy about that.
Oh and did I forget to mention how stupid everyone in Run, Hide, Fight is? I mean, other than our survivalist main character who is just so brilliant that she can outrun people with semi-automatic weapons and can hide behind a locker door (cos high school locker doors, famously bullet proof) everyone in this film is an utter moron. Is that the point? Is the point to show how incompetent the police force and teachers are because that’s what this film does. Everyone is incapable of doing anything, except the good girl with… years of survivalist training, cos that’s something that is relatable right?
It feels like they were trying to go for a “Good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun” idea but forgot to give her a gun for most of the film and forgot that most 17 year olds aren’t being raised by some crazy survivalist who taught them how to kill at a young age… and I have to read that messaging into the film since the film was apparently something that caused an extreme right wing website to start an entertainment division! If this is the point they were trying to make, they made it badly.
Look, when this is an over the top action film about a terrorist organisation that’s one thing, we can buy the main character pulling off insane elaborate feats of agility. But this is a school shooting, a real thing that happens at least once a month in the USA and you kinda need to handle this topic with care, or at least maybe don’t paint everyone as idiots because they’re scared of a gunman running around the school. Hell, they literally stop to show you a security guard being mocked for not having a gun and pissing his pants in fear… and we’re clearly meant to think he’s a pathetic waste of space instead of, ya know, a scared human being who had several guns pointed in his face!
I could probably try and point out all the moral failings behind Run, Hide, Fight (cos believe it or not, I haven’t even gotten to half of them) from how it treats bullying victims to how it makes security officers into scared pants pissing babies but at the end of the day this film is just boring. There are no interesting characters, the action is poorly filmed, the situation is almost a mockery of the real world terror that we’ve seen on a regular basis and nothing about it is interesting. I never believed I could watch a film about a school shooting and straight up not care what happened to any of the characters, but I did that today. I didn’t give a damn about anyone in this film, that’s how bad it failed.
…oh, and also fuck Ben Shapiro. Only chance I’m ever going to get to put THAT phrase here so why not take my shot?