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Review: The Runners (2020)

The Runners desperately wants to be a thriller in the style of Taken and Rambo: Last Blood. Instead of a father searching for a kidnapped daughter, it’s an older brother looking for the sister he’s had to raise since their parents died. And she’s going to be sold to a Mexican cartel if he doesn’t save her. Can directors Joey Loomis and Micah Lyons, (Lyons also wrote and stars in the film), overcome their lack of budget and star power to pull it off?

Ryan Stevens (Micah Lyons) lost his parents in a car accident ten years ago. He’s trying to raise his younger sister, Zoe (Netty Leach). But she’s seventeen and “rebellious”. Into evil things like skipping school, dating, and reminding Ryan he’s her brother, not her father. Of course, with such wicked ways, it’s only a matter of time before she falls in with the wrong guy. Next thing you know, she gets kidnapped by human traffickers and held at the strip club they operate out of.

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This leaves Ryan and Zoe’s boyfriend Michael (Swayde McCoy, Lockdown) to rescue them. Which they almost manage to accomplish. Ryan makes Marty swear not to call the police. Then he and his buddy Kooter (Jason Peter Kennedy) set out, intending to go all Rambo on his sister’s abductors.

The Runners open with a drone shot of a church, followed by the Pastor (Tom Sizemore, Damon’s Revenge, 7 Deadly Sins) giving a sermon. That should have been a hint of what I was getting into. After that, we see the aftermath of the wreck that killed Ryan and Zoe’s parents. A single-vehicle on its roof, no sign of what caused it to roll. But the three crosses of Calvary are there in the background.

As bad as the film’s heavy-handed religious messages are, the plot holes are even worse. These supposed expert criminals leave cell phones where their victims can get to them. And pay so little attention, their victims can make a run for it. And of course, they’re ruthless killers, but only knock Ryan and Michael out.

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Since he can’t call the cops, Michael goes and talks to the Pastor, who calls the cops for him. Seconds later, a heavily armed SWAT team shows up to save the day. How did they know where the villain’s compound was? Did God tell his humble servant? Or were the cops just watching the whole time and doing nothing as women and girls were being raped and abused?

The Runners is full of issues like these. And there weren’t nearly enough action scenes to keep me from getting bored and noticing them. Or the film’s smug morality.

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About as entertaining as a case of the runs, The Runners will be available July 14th on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more info.

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