Ben Shapiro’s debut film “Run Hide Fight” is the worst action movie of the year
By Jovani Alejandro Contreras
When I first heard that the conservative news website The Daily Wire was getting into the movie business, I was skeptical. Co-founded by American commentator Ben Shapiro, the news site is notorious for conservative clickbait. They then partnered with disgraced film producer Dallas Sonnier to make an action film set in a school shooting.
My question is: who thought this was a good idea? “Run Hide Fight” is basically “Die Hard” except a high school shooting. This movie is extremely hard to take seriously and critique because the concept is so ridiculously unaware.
Directed and written by Kyle Rankin, “Run Hide Fight” follows Zoe Hull (Isabel May) as she tries to get through senior prank day at her high school. Zoe still struggles with the death of her mother and has a strained relationship with her father Todd (Thomas Jane).
The movie opens with a scene of Zoe and her father laying out in a field hunting for deer, Zoe shoots one but after taking a closer look they see that it’s is still alive. Her father goes into a long speech about why they should kill the deer rather than let it suffer but before he can finish; Zoe smashes the groaning deer’s head in with a rock.
Although the foreshadowing is not subtle at all, I actually liked this scene. The dim, natural lighting created a grim tone that enhanced the moment. Isabel May does a good job playing the emotionally shutdown teen. Zoe is convincingly unfazed after brutally killing the deer and proceeds to drag it across the grass, however, this is one of the very few compliments I have for this film.
Zoe goes on with her day and while eating breakfast she speaks to a vision of her deceased mother. Her talks with the hallucination of her mother throughout the film are kind of weird and not very impactful. The visions of her mother are used as a device to show Zoes character development (which is almost nonexistent)
We are then introduced to Zoe’s best friend Lewis (Olly Sholotan) when he interrupts a conversation between Zoe and her father who is insistent that she moves on from the death of her mother. Lewis walks in saving Zoe from the interaction and drives them to school.
Only twenty minutes into the movie a van crashes through the cafeteria wall and the shooters begin to take over the school. For reference, “Run Hide Fight” is 109 minutes long yet there is no meaningful development before the situation begins.
The four shooters, who are each cartoony stereotypes, demand that everyone in the cafeteria take out their phones and live stream the tragedy. The shooters are led by Tristan Voy (Eli Brown) whose character can be summed up as a knock-off Joker. Each of the other shooters are also stereotypical misfits and outcasts who decided to retaliate against their classmates for cliche reasons which were never developed on screen.
At the 32 minute mark, Zoe escapes the school through a back door and begins to run away from the building. I smiled and eagerly waited for the credits to roll but to my dismay, Zoe ran back into the building. She then spends the next hour and 17 minutes killing or detaining each shooter in a “Die Hard” fashion and saves the school.
There were good moments in “Run Hide Fight” but nothing from this film really shines. The cinematography was mediocre, the pacing was slow and lengthy (especially for an action movie), and there were no memorable characters or performances.
Aside from the lousy pacing, the biggest problem with “Run Hide Fight” is that it doesn’t take time to develop the characters or situation. We don’t see any significant build-up to the school shooting so the antagonists have to explain their motives and what drove them to commit the tragedy through corny dialogue.
This movie could have been a lot more impactful if it just dedicated more time to building better antagonists. For example, one of the shooters, Kip Quade (Cyrus Arnold), is taken down by Zoe and admits why he decided to retaliate against the school. He explains that classmates and teachers bullied him after he was publicly pantsed: why was this moment not shown in the movie? Every interesting detail leading up to the shooting happened off-screen which is just lazy writing. Too much of this movie’s runtime is spent on tacky action scenes of Zoe taking down each shooter.
Simply put, this movie was just a bad idea done in even worse execution. I will never understand how a room of executives and producers agreed that this could be a good movie, not to mention the amount of controversy surrounding the production. If you’re ever looking for a good action movie and think of watching “Run Hide Fight” spare yourself the pain and just watch “Die Hard”
FEATURED IMAGE: “Run Hide Fight” poster art (Photo Credit: Paul Shipper)