Film Review: Night of the Running Man

By Jay Betsill

Amid the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many Americans flocked to streaming services for entertainment as evidenced by Netflix eclipsing the 200 million subscriber mark. With that in mind, I have been scouring the streaming services and discovering random movies and watching them so that (in some cases) you don’t have to view them.

Night of the Running Man” stars Andrew McCarthy and Scott Glenn and was released in 1995 when it premiered on HBO following a direct-to-video release that was the perfect match for those who used to study the new release wall at Blockbuster Video in hopes of discovering a movie with recognizable stars that for whatever reason did not make its way to local cinema.

McCarthy plays Jerry Logan, a Las Vegas cab driver gets a fare to the airport that offers an extra $100 if he can get him there in a hurry. Unbeknownst to Jerry, this passenger Eric Nichols (played by Matthew Laurance of Eddie and the Cruisers and David Silver’s dad in Beverly Hills 90210) has stolen $1 million from a mob-connected casino boss and they are hot on his tail.

After they catch up to Jerry and run the cab off the road, they kill Nichols and for some reason, the y flee the scene without getting the stolen money from the cab. This small detail sets the plot in motion as the casino boss hires hitman David Eckhart (Scott Glenn), billed as the best in the business with the GQ wardrobe to match, to recover the money and make the cabbie disappear.

We learn early on that Eckhart is a stone cold killer, but he has his trouble with the amateur cabbie Jerry in what he explains as him not being smart, just lucky.

The title implies that the movie takes place over one evening, but it actually goes from Vegas to Salt Lake City via a train and back to Los Angeles via plane with Eckhart stalking Jerry and using his contacts to stay one step ahead of the cab driver.

Part of Jerry’s lucky streak involves meeting the most amazing nurse ever Chris Altman (Janet Gunn) after he ends up in the hospital in Los Angeles.

The mid-90s Las Vegas scenery is fun for a trip down memory lane with the Mirage’s huge electronic sign for ‘Siegfried & Roy’ and Wayne Newton even appears in a few scenes as mob boss August Gurino.

John Glover appears midway through the movie as Derek Mills, an accomplice of Eckhart, and for those who recall Glover from such films as 52 Pick-Up, Payback and Scrooged, he is up to his colorful villainous ways.

“Night of the Running Man” is by no means a masterpiece, but it is an entertaining action thriller that can help you burn 90 minutes on a rainy afternoon.

“Night of the Running Man” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

NIGHT OF THE RUNNING MAN (Rated R)
Scale of 1-10 – 6 1/2