Based on Keith Leopold’s 1981 novel When We Run, Chris Langman’s Run, Chrissie, Run is a movie that was hard to come by outside of its native Australia until recently. It was released direct-to-video in its homeland in the mid-eighties, and while other homeland genre fare has found an international cult audience throughout the years, this one seemed destined to remain a well-kept secret. Fortunately, though, it’s been given the Umbrella Entertainment treatment as part of their Ozploitation Classics series, and it’s a neat little crime-thriller worthy of rediscovery.
The story revolves around the titular teenage girl Chrissie (Annie Jones) and her mother Eve (Carmen Duncan), a former criminal who’s being pursued by the dangerous Riley (Michael Aitkens), a terrorist who just so happens to be her ex-lover. But it isn’t just Chrissie and her mother who are being hunted; IRA hitmen want Riley dead because he murdered someone he shouldn’t have, in turn, they want Eve and her daughter as well because they have money that doesn’t belong to them. When the Eve and Chrissie go on the run through the highways of the Land Down Under, they find themselves in a messy — and potentially deadly situations — as more hitmen enter the fray and all hell breaks loose.
Run, Chrissie, Run is an entertaining cat-and-mouse thriller, though it never kicks into high gear. Combining elements of Bonnie and Clyde with Mad Max, it’s an interesting smorgasbord that seems perfect on paper, though it doesn’t necessarily make for the type of edge-of-your-seat thrill ride the title and plot would lead you to believe. However, like most Australian genre movies from that era, there are some car chases to get the heart racing, and the open road is a jungle which poses the risk of threat at every turn.
While the film lacks the manic energy of the Aussie action pictures from the country’s genre boom period, it more than makes up for lack of visceral thrills and carnage with an engaging story and endearing characters for the most part. They plot, which is a simple tale of being hunted for money, makes for some tense moments, like the opening scene boasting a low key home invasion that’s subtly menacing. Furthermore, the performances across the board are highly enjoyable for the most part and the actors bring their morally ambiguous crooks and killers to life admirably. This is a world populated by thieves and scum, and to survive you better be willing to lie, cheat and deceive. For 90 minutes, it’s a world I enjoyed spending time in.
At its core, however, is a story about a woman who just wants to protect her daughter. Despite the film’s title suggesting that it’s a movie about Chrissie, it’s Eve who’s the main focal point and she’s easily the best character here. She also brings a likeable humanity to proceedings, along with the allure and glamour of an experienced criminal. She has style and sincerity, and Duncan seems to be having fun in the role, as evident by her cool expression when she blows up a car with a shotgun and sends a gang of leather-clad, mohawk-sporting thugs running into a field. And there are enough moments like this peppered throughout which make Run, Chrissie, Run a satisfying slice of pulpy entertainment.
The disc from Umbrella doesn’t come packed with extras, but it’s a rare movie that’s worthy of any cult connoisseurs selection nonetheless. If you’re a fan of these scuzzy little crime yarns from yesteryear, you’ll want to own this one.