(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Everyone wants to get their hands on the computer hard drive with incriminating information about arms dealers, gangsters and politicians who party with high-priced night ladies. Catalina, a high-class call girl has the drive and two neophyte private detectives are trying to protect her. She is being chased by the host of very dangerous people including a ruthless assassin who could be mistaken for Helen Mirren. This is the modern equivalent of classic action comedies like FOUL PLAY. Made for today it just is more chaotic, has more nudity, and had more violence including some slightly nauseating scenes of torture. Otherwise the film is funny and fun, a fast, entertaining ride. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

To begin with there are a whole bunch of characters, mostly unsavory. There are so many that each time a new one is introduced the film stops and we see title insert telling us who the character is and three or four bullet items telling us about him. There's the Loner, the Enforcer, the Pervert, and probably twelve others. But don't worry there are only a few the viewer needs to track. The Exhibitionist is Catalina "Cat" Rona (played by Paz Vega of SPANGLISH), a high-priced call girl hired for a party of super- wealthy sleazebags--you know, arms dealers, Russian Mafia, Congressmen. As the film opens she is arriving at a "festivity". When nobody is looking she filches a computer hard drive that has incriminating evidence against the whole crowd.

Meanwhile we meet two guys in their late 20s who are looking for what to do with their lives. One is the Loner, Anthony Hester (Scott Mechlowicz), who is a failing restaurateur with a little Sherlock Holmes in him. The other one is Anthony's childhood friend, the Extrovert, Julian Simms (Alphonso McAuley), ladies man and, well, "ladies man" pretty much covers it. Together they decide to establish a detective agency. Their first case is to find the missing Catalina Rona. They have to find her and later will have to protect her. Also throw into the chase the dignified and very polite Helen Bingham (Janet McTeer) who just happens to be an assassin out of your worst nightmare. Finding Rona will be not nearly as difficult as keeping her alive. The chase will take the detectives through Eastern Europe.

Director John Stockwell gets from a generally unfamiliar cast performances more than sufficient to carry the story. Particularly good was Alphonso McAuley, who has a sort of Chris Rock charm. Even better was Janet McTeer doing a credible Helen Mirren impression mixed with flashes of Christian Szell of MARATHON MAN. Hers is definitely the standout role of the film. Mechlowicz and McAuley have a sort of chemistry that handles well the repartee of the script by Nick Ball and John Niven. One veteran actor is recognizable, Christopher McDonald, the TV host from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, whose over-the-top masculine looks are perfect for the sleazy Congressman. Ball's and Niven's writing generally holds up fairly well in the first two acts. The third act is a little familiar.

CAT RUN was obviously made for the Saturday night crowd and for that sort of audience it certainly does deliver. Don't bring the kids; the violence is a little strong. But between the repartee and the odd cast of nasties this film is a good time. It does have a slick and sassy mix of dark comedy and crime plot. I rate it a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2011 Mark R. Leeper