Hey gang, Valkor here. And I’m back with my second comedy to cross my desk with the first being All American Bikini Car Wash; it wasn’t all that funny (like ha-ha funny), but damn was it sexy! This next film hails from Australia and I have a difficult time trying to find a film from that area that I don’t like. And with “Reverse Runner”, the positive trend continues.
Reverse Runner follows the life of Kid Campbell (Dan Cannon), who wants to be just like his childhood hero John Jones – a popular reverse runner, who left the sport on a high note. Now reverse running is one part of a series of games in the Alternative Games and Jones finished with a “Hi-5” (winning five reverse running championships in a row). Kid hopes to achieve the same rise to glory, working under the tutelage of his trainer Leroy (Rosco Brauer). However, the only thing or person, standing in his way is his rival Steven James (Julian Shaw), who is very close to tying Jones’ record. The race consists of three “heats” (matches), with the winners of the first two heats carrying over into the final - which Kid and Steve are a part of. The race ends with Kid seemingly victorious, however after closer examination of his run, it shows he switched to a “sideways run”, which is a big no-no; Kid is disqualified and Steven James is the winner, achieving his “Hi-5” and well on his way to a first ever “six sweep”.
Sadly for Kid, he has to deal with the shame of his “sideways” run as he’s mocked by his community; not only that, but his father is giving him the business, forcing Kid to find a job or move out – into a tent in the backyard. And while he does succumb to his father’s wishes of seeking employment, the urge to be a famous reverse runner flows strong through him, pushing him to make a return to the Alternative Games to reclaim his right as being the best as John Jones. But Steven James is still in play, so can Kid surpass his rival of winning his “six sweep” and ultimately be the best reverse runner there is?
Though Reverse Runner came out in 2013, I just recently got a hold of it; and while it’s not unusual that I’ll review a film that was released a couple of years ago, I’ll almost always give it a pass, unless there’s something special about it or it was directed by a particular director; in this case, I was intrigued by the plot. And how does the film fare overall?
I didn’t expect too much from the low-budget comedy that is “Reverse Runner”, nevertheless I have to say I was genuinely impressed and overall entertained with the film. It’s not the funniest film I’ve watched this year, but it did provide quite a few laughs – most of which are visual, but you get some spoken comedy as well. The plot isn’t anything new – it’s almost an 80s throwback, complete with a montage, but the concept of the reverse running is certainly unique, yet something that isn't totally unexpected from a film that takes place in a small town. I really wanted to see more of those “games”, but what was given is totally acceptable and fun. The acting is pretty decent, but standouts for me go out to Rosco Brauer aka Leroy, whose unorthodox methods in training Kid just cracked me up, plus I enjoyed the running gag of the two of them driving through a small town, where no traffic is expected, but they get stuck behind a single tractor. Then there’s Daryl Cannon as Gary Campbell, Kid’s father – a grumpy old coot, but his presence onscreen was always a welcomed treat. Australia, you’ve got some mighty fine filmmakers over there and Reverse Runner shows that even on the low-end, you guys can still put out some quality films.
First up is the pacing, which really drags; if you stick with the film, you’ll still enjoy it, but there are many scenes that could have been shaved to make this film a smoother experience. Plus there are some scenes that begs the question: why is it there? (or maybe I missed the explanation??), such as why are the women of the town being petty towards Kid’s mom or why is there focus on Kid’s penis - the film opens with him checking it out and then ends showing that he stuffs his undies; bits like this just took me out of the fun and I wound up just scratching my head. Kid’s love interest should have also been cut, though Hannah (Bianca Linton) is definite eyecandy, however her onscreen time is so limited that it really doesn’t matter if she’s there or not. Finally I would have loved to have seen more of those Alternate Games, showing more of that action would have made more sense.
Reverse Runner is available now on Amazon Instant, but to get a hard copy you’ll have to import. However I hope there is a broader digital release as the film is unique, simple, fun and overall entertaining. I’d recommend checking it out if you get the chance. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Reverse Running a 3.