Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 10th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1983
Director: Mark Griffiths
Writer: Mark Griffiths
Cast: Monica Carrico, Eric Stoltz, Stuart Margolin, Virgil Frye, Sorrells Pickard
DVD released: February 24th, 2009
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
For Code Red’s DVD release the film’s original title card “Lucky 13” has been reinstated. This film’s has been released under several titles including Running Hot, Highway to Hell, Makin’ It and On the Run. Running Hot was written and directed by Mark Griffiths who most famous film to date is the raunchy 1980’s sex comedy Hardbodies. The score for Running Hot was composed by Al Capps whose other notable scores include Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot, Stroker Ace, The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II. Other notable crew members on Running Hot include cinematographer Tom Richmond who extensive filmography includes Hardbodies, I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka, A Midnight Clear, Killing Zoe and House of 1000 Corpses.
The plot for Running Hot revolves around two characters Danny Hicks a teenager who has been convicted of killing his father and a prostitute named Charlene Andrews who has been following his trial obsessively. The story first major twist occurs when Charlene helps Danny after he escapes from police custody. They quickly forge a bound as they try to stay one step ahead of the law. Also the film’s two lead character’s Danny and Charlene are mirror images of each other as they both come from similar dysfunctional homes. Their relationship is doomed to fail and everywhere they go trouble seems to find them. The plot is perfectly paced, as no scene feels dragged out or unnecessary.
Visually the film does a superb job capturing the grittiness of its rural locations. A few standout moments include the two scenes with Virgil Frye who plays a pimp who parades around in his Speedo and robe, and a flashback sequence that shows what happened the night Danny’s father was murdered. The most recognizable named in the cast is Eric Stoltz (Some Kind of Wonderful, Pulp Fiction, Killing Zoe) in his first leading role in a feature film. Stoltz gives a sympathetic and engaging performance as the troubled teen Danny Hicks. Other notable cast members include Stuart Margolin (“The Rockford Files”) and Sorrells Pickard (Hardbodies, Hardbodies 2). Ultimately Running Hot is a well made crime drama about a doomed love affair.
Code Red presents Running Hot in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Flesh tones look natural, colors are nicely saturated and black levels fare well throughout. There is noticeable layer of grain that varies in degree and a few darker scenes that look a tad too soft.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside of some very minor instances of background hiss, this audio mix fares well all around.
Extras for this release include an alternate opening credits sequences under the title of “Running Hot” and an extensive image gallery with of behind the scenes stills, lobby cards and box art for a few of the previous home video releases. Other extras include an eight minute interview with writer / director Mark Griffiths. The main extra included with this release includes an audio commentary with writer / director Mark Griffiths, producer David Calloway and this audio commentary is moderated by Lee Christian. The audio commentary is a lively affair which covers such topics like the film’s original theatrical run via New Line Cinema, the difficulties of working on a shoestring budget, the critical response to the film, casting, location and other behind the scenes stories. Some of Mark Griffith’s comments on the audio commentary overlap with comments that he makes during his eight minute on camera interview. Overall Running Hot gets a fully loaded DVD from Code Red that is highlighted by the exceptional audio commentary track, recommended.