Shadow Run (1998) starring Michael Caine, James Fox, Matthew Pochin, Rae Baker, Kenneth Colley, Christopher Cazenove, Rupert Frazer, Leslie Grantham, Tim Healy directed by Geoffrey Reeve Movie Review

Shadow Run (1998)   2/52/52/52/52/5

James Fox and Michael Caine in Shadow Run

Caine out Foxes a Fox

Michael Caine has been attached to some great movies across the years, think of his performances as Charlie Croker in "The Italian Job" or Jack Carter in "Get Carter" and they are sheer class. So it makes me wonder why someone of Caine's calibre would appear in such rubbish, and I do mean rubbish, as "Shadow Run" a movie which is both dull and damn right stupid. There is little if anything praiseworthy in "Shadow Run" and whilst the idea of robbing a high security van carrying blank banking paper may sound good, maybe even a little bit like a play on "The Italian Job", it ends up lacking anything close to be interesting or good. As such whilst I would love to say that "Shadow Run" is a clever movie with good performances I can't without lying.

After one bodged robbery where hardened criminal Haskell (Michael Caine - Harry Brown) is seen by chubby school kid Edward Joffrey (Matthew Pochin), crooked aristocrat Landon-Higgins (James Fox - Mickey Blue Eyes) approaches him again to pull off the robbery. The plan is to manoeuvre a high security van carrying blank bank note paper into a communications black spot where Haskell and his team can rob it with ease. But whilst Haskell takes the job he starts to suspect that Higgins maybe double crossing him and with Joffrey keep on turning up Haskell must be on his game.

Michael Caine and Leslie Grantham in Shadow Run

Now it has to be said that there is a loose similarity between "Shadow Run" and "The Italian Job" and I do mean loose but what we have is Michael Caine playing a hard nosed robber who puts together a team to rob a security van by luring it into a black spot where they can't radio or get in touch with anyone. As such it is a little bit similar to "The Italian Job" but nowhere near as classy, fun, exciting or interesting. In fact "Shadow Run" is ultimately daft with a storyline which is not only full of plot holes but annoyingly disjointed with more padding than story. And to make it worse it is a movie built on cliches and stereotypes making it all extremely obvious from James Fox playing a nefarious aristocrat through to Dirty Den, I mean Leslie Grantham, turning up as an East End hard man.

Part of the problem is that "Shadow Run" is incredibly disjointed and annoyingly so as it makes it hard to follow. We meet Haskell when a chubby schoolboy stumbles across him following a bodged robbery, then it cuts to Haskell meeting Landon-Higgins, then another cut back to the chubby school boy followed by cut after cut after cut as we get snippets of storyline which feel incredibly disjointed. All these disjointed elements do finally merge, even one which sees Haskell having a date with an Escort but some of them seem like padding, thrown in to complicate what is a simple storyline such as the Escort girl which ends up feeling like it's been thrown in so we can have at least one female character. It makes it very messy and for what is really a simple storyline rather confusing purely because it is disjointed.

It also doesn't help matters that the whole thing revolves around this high tech security vehicle carrying blank bank note paper being manoeuvred into a communications black spot so it can be robbed. Well let's just say for a high security vehicle full of supposedly high tech computer equipment it is remarkably easy to break into. And as for the whole communications black spot well that is beyond believable as a cathedral covered in scaffolding is, we are to believe, actually amplifying the back spot. If that wasn't bad enough the actual heist, the supposedly clever manoeuvring of the security vehicle into an abandoned barn ends up lasting barely minutes and is not in the least bit exciting or dramatic.

Then there is the acting and whilst Michael Caine does come across as a bit nasty as hardened robber Haskell everyone else is playing a stereotype. From James Fox being smooth and posh as the nefarious Landon-Higgins through to Leslie Grantham being an East End Hard man. It's all rather obvious and almost laughable especially when it comes to Tim Healy who seems to have been given no direction for his role and so over acts. As such "Shadow Run" is most definitely not an example of good acting from any of the cast.

What this all boils down to is that "Shadow Run" is bordering on being a terrible movie. From being absurd through to the disjointed stories and the various stereotypes it just doesn't work and is all rather dull with barely a couple of minutes which is close to being exciting. The only reason it isn't terrible is that whilst the storyline is full of plot holes it's actually a good idea just one which for me is poorly delivered.