Shadow Run (1998)

Director: Geoffrey Reeve
Starring: Michael Caine, James Fox, Leslie Grantham, Christopher Cazenove
Screenwriter: Desmond Lowden
Running Time: 92mins
UK Certificate: 18
MPAA Rating: R
Rating: 1 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. Or, at least they do in this film. A gang, led by Haskell (Michael Caine), tries to highjack a security van full of £11m in cash when it's in one of these shadow runs.

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, after all, and they are irritatingly ubiquitous still. The idea must have seemed like a winner. Unfortunately, the scripting duties were handed to one Desmond Lowden, whose only previous effort was The Real McCoy, starring Kim Basinger. Say no more.

There's a pointless subplot where we follow the growing pains of Edward Joffrey, public school choir boy, who enjoys a thinly-sketched relationship with Haskell. His other major relationships are with a pair of sisters who happen to be played by the director's daughters. 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 production values as high as you would expect from the highest grossing joint Australian/Portguese co-production of all time.

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. Looking back, Caine must thank whatever gods look out for him that he took the role of Ray Say in Little Voice and doesn't have to appear in dross like this any more.

There isn't enough scorn in the world to pour on this travesty.


IMDb: Internet Movie Database entry for Shadow Run.

There was a Leslie Grantham site, but it appears to be gone now, try Eastenders Online.