Running Out Of Time (2018) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

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While the twist, and what comes after, in Running Out Of Time may leave you a little divisive, I’d submit Stokes and Houston are becoming better storytellers.

Director(s) Christopher B. Stokes
Screenplay By Chaz Echols, Marques Houston, Christopher B. Stokes
Date Released 8/1/2019 (Netflix)
Genre(s) Crime, Thriller, Drama, Action
Good If You Like
  • Urban Movies
  • Political Thrillers
  • Kidnapping Situations
Isn’t For You If You
  • Want More Action Than Talking
  • Expect Villains To Seem Like They Have Common Sense
Noted Cast
Clarence Sean Dominic
Conrad Michael Toland
Brenda Tasha Smith
Dolly Telma Hopkins
Cain Ronreaco Lee
Kristen Sydney Elise Johnson
Trent Paul Logan
Pam Kearia Schrodeder
Agent Spears Dustin Harnish

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Running Out Of Time Plot Summary & Review

At the age of 48, Clarence Harper’s death is seen as quite the tragedy. The Chief of Staff to California Senator Conrad Toms, a presidential candidate, was poised, beloved, and considered one of the good ones. However, after his death, it seems he has left something behind. Documents which hold the power to potentially destroy or control Conrad and its assumed Clarence’s wife Brenda has them. Making her a major target.


Dolly Was Funny

Dolly (Telma Hopkins) asking for her whiskey.
Dolly (Telma Hopkins)

Like most older women casts in films like this, Hopkins is someone’s mother with a sharp tongue and comical ways. Which may make her seem interchangeable with so many other actresses in her age bracket, but that doesn’t discount how funny it was to watch her character, Dolly, interact with Brenda’s daughter, Kristen, while she enjoys her whiskey.

Up Until The Twist, The Movie Wasn’t That Bad

The kidnappers, for a good amount of time, seemed like they were smart, violent, and presented a real threat. Not that they didn’t stumble once or twice, but with them having back up plans, it made it so as much as you thought Brenda could have, or did, get the upper hand, she didn’t. And with it becoming clear Brenda wasn’t going to be the kind of lead who suddenly can take on people with military training, and whip their ass, it felt like these may take a path not seen too often.


The Logic Of The Villain

However, then we learn who is behind the kidnappings, and things begin to get ridiculous. Especially as the villain explains how they are going to cover their tracks, and the kidnappers. From that point on, the film goes from seeming exciting to you wondering how are they going to wrap it up?

On The Fence

I Won’t Necessarily Say You Worry About Anyone Dying

Brenda (Tasha Smith) & Kristen (Sydney Elise Johnson) being held captive.
Brenda (Tasha Smith) & Kristen (Sydney Elise Johnson)

This is the kind of film where you are more so attached to the actors than their characters. Not to say Tasha Smith is playing Tasha Smith and Telma Hopkins is rehashing a well-known performance, but you will not get lost in the lives and details of the characters. Which isn’t to say we aren’t dropped numbers in terms of ages, how long they lived somewhere, when a person’s dad died, and things of that nature. But when it is spoken it feels more like data being thrown out there than, as a viewer, you getting an opportunity to know the character and pass that threshold from seeing Ronreaco Lee as Cain, to just seeing Cain.

Running Out Of Time Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

I was surprised to learn this is the 4th Chris Stokes film we have watched and honestly, they are getting better. This certainly isn’t the best one, but I will say they are beginning to seem less reliant on a lead carrying the movie and seem like everyone brings value to the film. I’d also add, story-wise, while his twists and what happens from there need improvement, the setups are decent. Hell, I’d even say good.

Leading to why this is being given a mixed label. While Stokes and his team are progressively getting better, they still have quite a ways to go before you can say from beginning to end, their films are consistent in quality. And really, if Stokes and his team would just learn how to write a good twist and not have things go downhill from there, I think they’d be among some of the best urban or hood movies around. I can’t say, in terms of films in general, it would be good, but I think Stokes and co. are more so aiming to entertain than present tour de force writing and performances.

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