Ever imagined what an out and out terrorist action film would look like if it were done by an indie filmmaker on a very low-budget? Impossible to consider isn’t it, as most indie filmmakers usually stay within the genre realm of crime, horror, or comedy. Well you don’t have to imagine anymore because indie film marvel Richard W. Haines had defied odds once again with his film Run for Cover. It is a simple action film in context, however abandons the basic elements of the genre in its method.
Originally filmed and presented in 3-D, Run for Cover is the largest scale film that Haines has directed, with a cast of hundreds (including a handful of name actors and personalities), many action sequences and grand locations. This appeared to be a real challenge for Haines as up until 1995 he had only tackled horror and sci-fi but in his sheer determination, Haines proves that action can be done outside of the studio system with a limited budget.
The story concerns surly renegade reporter Jay Fleming (Thomas Dunne) and he and his camera being in the right place at the wrong time when he is framed by the FBI for a murder he did not commit in order to be used as bait to attract a group of terrorists who spread mayhem across New York City. Fleming must now prove his innocence and with nowhere to run as both the good guys and the bad guys have it in for him; he can only depend on himself and a mysterious stranger who can possibly clear his name.
Run for Cover reflects something very special that I feel words cannot describe but I will give it a shot. Here you have an independent vision of a genre that is mainly dominated by big studios and although there are quite a lot of explosions and gun play, Run for Cover still has this rare artistic low-budget perspective which creates a look that is both vivid and ambitious. The color in the film is so vibrant that it almost looks fake providing the film with aesthetics that could be compared to Technicolor films like The Wizard of Oz (1939) accentuating the reds and yellows even though this was filmed in Eastmancolor. The film also has another specialty in that it includes special appearances by veteran actor Adam West and the late Viveca Lindfors in her final screen appearance as well as cameo appearances from some famous New York personalities including Edward I. Koch, Rev. Al Sharpton and Curtis Sliwa. It adds a kind of a variety show quality to the film in its nostalgia and realism. That was my best shot at describing the film’s special qualities and in one sentence; it is a radiantly unique terrorist action film. Haines’ film makes an attempt to combine the action and art which may after so many years bring two different audiences together for the first time. No easy task for any man.
The DVD contains an in-depth commentary by director Richard W. Haines who takes the audience through the whole process of making the film, including both technical information and handy pieces of trivia. Extras also include a trailer for the film and a photo gallery. The commentary does serve as a crash course for film students and gives more insight and help than most film courses ever could. All in all, the film should satisfy a variety of film lovers so long as people do not try to be overly deconstructive of the storyline, just enjoy the fun and admire the visuals as I don’t think any other filmmaker who will ever attempt an action film would care enough to compose a distinctive look such as this film does. The biggest loss for this DVD is that it is not presented in the original 3-D format which Haines insists is required for the ultimate presentation of the film as it was specifically shot for 3-D exhibition.