Shadow Run (1998)

screenshot from Shadow Run

Directed by: Geoffrey Reeve
Screenwriter(s): Desmond Lowden (from his own novel)
Starring: Michael Caine, James Fox, Matthew Pochin, Rae Baker, Christopher Cazenove, Rupert Frazer, Leslie Grantham, Tim Healey
Genre: Crime / Gangster / Thriller / Heist
Country: AUS / POR
Running time: 1h 32m
Rating: 0 out of 10

As anyone who’s ever used a mobile phone in a moving car will know, sometimes you run into a patch where no signal can get through. Security van drivers refer to this as the ‘shadow run’. Which – no, they don’t. No-one has ever used that phrase to refer to a dead spot, because the term ‘dead spot’ already exists.

You can almost picture the scene: a long journey, calls to make, but – horror – the signal drops while making a very important call and suddenly the scriptwriter starts to form an idea. Mobile phones were The Big Thing in 1998, rather than just A Fact of Life. The idea must have seemed like a winner. Unfortunately, the scripting duties were handed to Desmond Lowden, writer of the original novel, whose only previous effort was The Real McCoy starring Kim Basinger.

Anyway, a gang, led by Haskell (Michael Caine), tries to highjack a security van full of £11m in cash while it’s in a dead spot – sorry, shadow run – but it goes hideously wrong and Haskell starts to think that he’s been set up by his aristocratic boss, Landon-Higgins (Fox). There’s a pointless subplot where we follow the growing pains of Edward Joffrey (Pochin), misfit public school choir boy, who enjoys a thinly-sketched relationship with Haskell, having stumbled on a van filled with blood and been bribed by Haskell (with a mere £20) to keep his mouth shut. Joffrey’s only other major relationships are with a pair of sisters who happen to be played by the director’s daughters, Emma and Katherine. It’s that sort of film.

Unsure of whether it wants to be a heist movie or an exploration of the lives of career criminals, this film manages to fail on every level. The plot is cliched and confusing, the dialogue risible, and the whole film is disjointed, badly edited and lurches about from tedium to melodrama with a total lack of tension.

Caine, Fox, Grantham and even Cazenove (who has appeared in worse than this) treat this script with the contempt it deserves by coasting through their performances and doing the bare minimum necessary to pick up their cheque at the end of the day.

Despite being made in 1997, Shadow Run was not released in the UK until 2001, and went straight to video. Its initial premiere (if one can call it that) was straight-to-video in Iceland in 1998.

Other films produced by Geoffrey Reeve