One we know from great films such as “Adaptation” and “Leaving Las Vegas” while the other already shone in movies like “Last Flag Flying” and “Contagion”.
Now Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne come together in the latest work from writer/director Jason Cabell (“Smoke Filled Lungs”). With the likes of Leslie Bibb and Peter Facinelli, they make an intriguing story about drug tracking coming to the big screen. Sadly, just like drugs itself, “Running with the Devil” goes all over the place.
That “Running With The Devil” will turn out to be a chaotic and ‘hard-to-follow’ film already becomes clear from the very first scenes.
The first five minutes of the movie are about a kidnapped (guess that’s what happened) person being neglected, a high-class man (Laurence Fishburne) living the life with women and drugs and another person (Nicolas Cage) having to find out what happens to his shipped package.
It does take a while before you get what this film is about but once the elements come together, it’s obvious that Cabell takes you on an exciting drug smuggling adventure. You go on a trip from a local farm in Colombia through Mexico all the way up to Vancouver.
Along the way, you’ll meet very interesting but also strange characters. Characters with no names. That’s probably how things go in the real smuggling world as well.
You have Cage aka The Cook as the diner owner, soccer coach and drug smuggler who’s trying to locate his latest shipment. There’s also The Man, played by Fishburne, who’s having a great time with hookers, drugs, and booze.
Of course, a story about drug smuggling wouldn’t be complete without a few cops trying to chase the smugglers. This honour is for both Leslie Bibb and Peter Facinelli as The Agent in Charge and Number One. Every party is involved in drug trafficking in their own way but who will get the best outcome?
While reading the storyline, you will probably notice that this can become an intriguing and captivating thriller. Not only because of the topic itself but also because you got to see the events unraveling differently for every person involved. Sadly there are just a little bit too many people entangled in this whole story.
The good thing about many characters is that you need a lot of talented actors to pull this off. There’s no denying that Cabell could count on a strong cast for “Running With The Devil”.
Cage, Fishburne, Bibb, etc.. They’re all giving their best shot. Cage is clearly in his element as The Cook as he puts on a charismatic, alluring and enjoyable performance.
The very delightfully Fishburne is having fun as the man who’s certainly not afraid of living on the edge. He gives such a relaxed and cool attitude to his character.
Cage and Fishburne are joined by Facinelli (“Countdown“, “Asher”) and Bibb (“Tag”, “The Babysitter”). Facinelli is wonderful as the dedicated cop who might have a darker side to him than what meets the eye.
Bibb is there to balance out that masculine power. While she’s trying to make from her character a bad-ass and devoted cop, she just doesn’t fully do the trick. Overall, it’s Cage and Fishburne who make from this movie a very entertaining one to watch.
Another element that turns this movie in an amusing one is the fascinating and dramatic side of the story. If you forget everything around it and the aspects that are irrelevant to the story, “Running With The Devil” is about the exciting smuggling world and an interesting cat-and-mouse game between the cops and the smugglers. That would be the perfect angle for a dramatic and exhilarating thriller.
However, it got ruined by overdoing it. First of all, cinematographer Cory Geryak uses way too many sweeping drone shots. A few would have definitely made this film more bombastic and impressive but not in the way he did it.
Secondly, there’s just too much going on in this movie due to which the lively and thrilling vibe decreases immensely. Too many subplots, too many characters and just too little background information. The movie is certainly not as compelling as it sounds on paper and the more is absolutely not the merrier.
“Running with the Devil” is only the second film of Cabell and so he’s probably still looking for his own signature. We just hope that it will be the total opposite of the style he used in this film. Cage and Fishburne are giving the best of themselves and while there are some very enjoyable moments, “Running with the Devil” becomes a chaotic and excessive movie.
“Running with the Devil” is now available via digital download.
4th November 2019
THE QUICK SELL
The CEO of an international conglomerate sends two of his most regarded executives to investigate why shipments of cocaine are being hijacked and over cut somewhere on the supply chain.