Running Time is a 1997 independent crime thriller film written, produced, and directed by Josh Becker (Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except, Lunatics: A Love Story, Stryker’s War, Jack of All Trades, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Alien Apocalypse). It was produced by Jane Goe (E.T., The Goonies, Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List). The budget was an estimated $120,000 and it only took 10 days to shoot. Carl (played by: Bruce Campbell from the Evil Dead franchise, Spider-man franchise, Burn Notice, Bubba Ho-Tep, Maniac Cop 1/2, and The Hudsucker Proxy), a man who launches a full-scale heist to steal mob money from the prison and corrupt Warden (played by: Art LaFleur from Cobra, Trancers franchise, The Blob, The Sandlot, Field of Dreams, and Death Warrant) that just released him.
With the help of an old loser friend (played by: Jeremy Roberts from The People Under the Stairs, The Marrying Man, The Mask, and The Mexican), a drug addicted driver (played by: Gordon Jennison from Head of the Family, Phoenix, and Virtuosity) and a family man safe-cracker (played by: Stan Davis from Snowpiercer, Primary Colors, Ragdoll, and The Prophecy 3: The Ascent), Carl’s attempt to carry out the heist is fraught with incompetence and bad luck. As the clock ticks and the circumstances turn tragic, Carl is forced to make the most important decision of his life including taking a chance on an old flame (played by: Anita Barone from The War at Home, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, The Rosary Murders, and Ricochet) from the past when he’s running out of time!!!!
Director Josh Becker went with black and white to give this independent crime film a Neo-noir vibe which really works for Running Time. The cinematography is excellent here, this super low budget production looks much more expensive than what it actually was with this skilled small crew. I really liked the film’s gimmick that it all looks like one big shot for the entire feature through impressive editing. Hitchcock did it first with Rope and it’s recently been done with 1917. It’s so convincing that a professional reviewer was completely fooled and wrote about it during it’s original release. Anyways, the script is well written and this is a great character piece. It’s a very unique heist movie, it’s truly original and that’s a rare thing when it comes to this sub-genre. Not going to lie, I am a huge Bruce Campbell fanboy. I’ve always been since I first started getting into cinema. He is known for his hammy and over the top performances but when he wants to….the man can hang with the best when it comes to acting. Running Time is his best performance as an actor and his most under-rated role. He carries this micro budget crime flick and he’s the reason why it turned out so great. I guess I can’t give him all the credit because to be fair this one has a real solid supporting cast of mainly nobodies to be honest but they all have some good and respected work in their careers. Art LaFleur is great as the main villain and he is the most known performer in this besides the lead Bruce Campbell. Running Time had a little bit of everything in it which includes crime, action, romance, comedy, suspense, and drama. I really hope Running Time gets another life and more appreciation with this brand new home video release from Synapse because it deserves it after all these years, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Synapse Films! This 1080p (1.37:1) transfer is from a brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative. I’ve owned the original Anchor Bay DVD since it was first released and this brand new blu ray blows it out of the water. It’s like seeing Running Time for the very first time again and it’s the best it’s ever looked anywhere. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is better than expected and it’s presented for the very first time with it’s original stereo mix. It’s an upgrade compared to the past home video releases. Despite being a heist film, this one has never been that loud or explosive when it comes to sound. It’s more of a dialogue driven feature which is crystal clear here. The music really shines on this track It has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Synapse Films! It has an archive “Audio Commentary” with director Josh Becker and lead actor Bruce Campbell. As many of you know, Bruce Campbell is the master of audio commentaries and this one is no different. He basically serves as the moderator for the director here. He asks all kinds of interesting questions when it comes to the technical aspects, concept, style, and overall production for this independent feature. Josh Becker has plenty of stories and information about Running Time here. It was fun to hear Campbell reminisce about this low budget movie which seemed more like a passion project rather than just another job for him. He even brings up doing a studio feature right before this and how he was glad to do something like this right after because that wasn’t a great experience. They break down the cast, crew, characters, favorite scenes, it’s one shot look with great editing, and various other stuff about Running Time. Becker and Campbell have a blast here going over their collaboration on this. “Run and Gun with Bruce Campbell” is a brand new exclusive interview with the lead actor from the great folks at Red Shirt Pictures so you know it’s good. The horror icon goes into great detail about this independent feature. He chats how he met the director and how he was the first one from his group that actually went to Hollywood. He brings up how creative he was and that he lived right by Paramount Studios. He mentions a few of the short films that he did with him back in the day. He goes over his experience working on the big budget and mainstream feature McHale’s Navy before this. He felt like nothing was there for that character and he wanted to challenge himself on his next role so that’s one of the main reasons why he did the smaller Running Time. He says this was a true independent and low budget production. He goes over the shoot and how Becker handled everything on it. He personally knew a good amount of the cast and crew for this small crime flick. They worked hard to knock this one out in only 10 days which included doing some extra material to make it full length. He says he took a cut of the movie rather than getting paid which only ended up being a few hundred dollars but it’s one of his favorite features that he has ever done in his acting career. “Q&A footage from the Freaky Film Festival Premiere at the University of Illinois” with director Josh Becker and lead actor Bruce Campbell. These two are hilarious together here. They have a great time with this and joke around with the crowd the whole time. They go over their earlier shorts and work together as kids. They chat raising funds and putting together Running Time. They talk about other projects like Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Campbell is brutality honest about doing Tornado! just for the money. He goes over how he got his part on the Ellen show. It has the original “Trailer”. It has reversible artwork and Synapse Films catalog booklet. It’s available everywhere this week, CHECK IT OUT!!!!