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‘Run Hide Fight’ Delivers the Best and Meanest ‘Die Hard’ Knockoff in Years

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Just as Jaws spawned dozens of knockoffs featuring man-eating animals both in and out of the water, Die Hard gave birth to numerous riffs dropping “average” characters into face-offs with gun-toting terrorists. Decades later, while the originals remain classics, the wannabe clones keep coming. The latest of the latter is essentially “Die Hard in a high school,” but while 1991’s Toy Soldiers saw teens facing off against cliched terrorists, Run Hide Fight pits its hero against a far more realistic threat: school shooters. The concept of an action movie set during a school shooting might be understandably distasteful to some, but despite some stumbles trying to find the line between the serious and the exploitative, this one succeeds where it matters with a solid, suspenseful, and often thrilling tale of bravery, cruelty, and catharsis.

Zoe (Isabel May) has been shutting down since the death of her mother (Radha Mitchell) from cancer, and while she still goes through the paces each day, there’s little to motivate her through to tomorrow. Zoe still goes hunting in the morning with her dad (Thomas Jane) and hangs out with her best friend, Lewis (Olly Sholotan), but her heart’s just not in any of it. That changes one day at school when a van crashes into the cafeteria and four students begin gunning down teens and teachers alike. Zoe plays it smart and escapes, but as she runs across a backfield, she stops with an unexpected realization: she’s unwilling to leave everyone else behind. Armed with nothing but her wits and the bare minimum of a plan, she heads back into the carnage.

School shootings are horrific events that, while not exclusive to the United States, have come to call the US home on a tragically frequent basis (2020 was the first year in a long time without at least one — thanks Covid!). Previous movies involving school shootings have almost always leaned dramatic focus on those about to be traumatized and/or on what “made”........

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