No doubt this Australian DVD release will have strong nostalgic value for those who remember Run, Chrissie, Run! from its original Antipodean broadcast, but the fact that its producers lost confidence enough to pull it from its intended theatrical run should tell you a little about its quality. The truth is, this is pleasant enough to waste an hour and a half, but it ain’t no Witness.
Brit Michael Aitkens stars as Riley, in IRA hitman who bottles an assassination when the intended target’s family turn up at the planned bombing location, and who ends up killing his partner to stop him going through with the hit. his moral compass established, and planning to go on the run from his Irish superiors, Riley fetches up at the Australian home of his ex, looking for the money she’s been hiding from their earlier career as bank robbers in Germany. But Eve (Carmen Duncan, Harlequin, affecting a passable German accent) has other plans, running off with both the cash and her daughter, the eponymous Chrissie (Neighbours’ ‘Plain Jane’ Annie Jones, filming two years ahead of her soap debut), on the lam from both Riley and the mob gunman Terrier (Shane Briant, another Brit) the IRA have sent looking for him.
Coming five years after Mad Max (this was shot in 1984, before sitting on the shelf for two years), there’s a stopover along the way involving a debauched punk called Toe (Nicholas Eadie), who gets inveigled into the search for Eve by Terrier and his regional right-hand man Pitt (a young Red Symons) after she shoots up his car, and whose face is plastered all over the promotional material. But really this is a surprisingly gentle, sunny film that might have been better concentrating more on Chrissie and her unexpected displacement.
And that’s the problem with Run, Chrissie, Run!, for while it makes a decent stab at making everything feel plausible, its characterisation - while superficially complex - is rather too thin to fully convince. It’s an issue that’s summarised somewhat in the unlikely dialogue exchanges that occasionally plague the film, and the net result is that while this is engaging enough not to bore, neither does it especially intrigue. You end up just about caring who lives and who doesn’t, and the most interesting development is so clearly signposted it’s almost impossible not to scream at the participants as they dance around admitting it.
Sadly, Umbrella Entertainment’s release comes from an appallingly poor picture source (they obviously didn’t have access to, or the budget to work from, the original negatives), so while this might have at least looked rather pretty unfortunately it doesn’t - and the trailer that follows the feature is almost unwatchable.
RUN, CHRISSIE, RUN! (1984) / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: CHRIS LANGMAN / SCREENPLAY: GRAHAM HARTLEY / STARRING: CARMEN DUNCAN, MICHAEL AITKENS, ANNIE JONES, SHANE BRIANT, NICHOLAS EADIE, RED SYMONS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW