That was fucking great! Run Hide Fight is Die Hard for high school shootings. On the purely fun level, this movie is gripping, with twists and turns, cat and mouse, rising tensions, just excellently put together.
There’s a little note of caution when you see a hero vs school shooters film because you don’t want folk to emulate it in real life, which is an unfair standard, coz no one thinks Die Hard might promote unwise behaviour in real life terrorist hostage situations. But there is a sensitivity around school shooting movies that isn’t there with other mass carnage event action films. And perhaps rightly so. It’s a good thing to expect a degree of responsibility in storytelling.
Yet, I feel you have to go back to the quote about fairytales – they aren’t important because they tell us monsters exist, they’re important because they tell us they can be beaten. We all want a hero like Zoe, we all want a happy ending, and we all want justice, in this aspect of life as in every other. And there is a glorious wish fulfilment to Run Hide Fight that is so satisfying, and leaves you cheering, “Fuck yeah!”
Also, I think this film does strike a good balance between the action film it is and a degree of responsibility. I would say it does not aggrandize the villains, or show them as sympathetic losers, but as ego-driven self-entitled narcissists. While they espouse a lot of the excuses you’ve come to associate with these type of killers, with Zoe as their mirror, it’s kinda shown as all just bullshit to cover doing what you want because you think you have a right to. The only difference between the rest of us who have our own shit to deal with, and these killers, is they think they have the right to make their point on the broken and bloody bodies of other people. They’re bastards, plain and simple.
And because it is an action film, when it rounds the corners of sensitive topics, like why this is so easy to do in America but not anywhere else in the world, it has to walk a fine line of being honest about its subject while not puncturing that fun, fictional world of the film. For example, at one point someone asks the ringleader of the shooters how he put all this together, which is a fair question, narratively speaking, because this is an elaborate plan, with various steps, co-ordinated among a team, in which they seem to be 2 steps ahead of the police at every turn. He replies quite frankly, that the live shooter lockdown procedure is public knowledge, as any changes and amendments have to go before school board hearings, which are open community meetings. Which is insane. I watched that and was like, “Is that for real?” and yup, a Google search later and you can find live shooter policies online. Which blows my mind, it means you can literally plan your attack with foreknowledge of how it will be responded to, and any weaknesses exploited. What the fuck America?!
So yeah, it’s a difficult balance, but Run Hide Fight pulls it off, and you never feel like you are being talked at. The performances are great, especially from the lead Isabel May. The whole thing hits its mark and just builds in momentum to the final showdown. Thumbs up!