28th Apr2020

‘Emerald Run’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: David Chokachi, John Schneider, Steven Williams, Michael Pare, Vernon Wells, Chris Mulkey, Yancy Butler, Angela Gots | Written by Anthony Caruso, Marialisa Caruso | Directed by Eric Etebari

Drug smuggling is a topic that has been covered by TV and film over and over. Some of the most well known include Traffic, Blow and Scarface. Emerald Run though does not cover the trafficking of drugs though, it’s the first movie I have seen that covers the trafficking of emeralds. I mention the drug smuggling movie because this by all intents and purposes is exactly that. Except for the fact that the ‘drugs’ are emeralds, everything else hits the same notes as the movies in that sub-genre.

We see a desperate man (David Chokachi) get involved in a plan to smuggle emeralds across the Mexican border. He believes he has no choice and needs the money to save his daughters life. Of course, things do not go to plan and he himself ends up fighting for his own life. Like I said, the story itself sounds familiar and so do plenty of the characters, aswell as the situations that happen to them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Emerald Run doesn’t add much in the way of originality to this well-trodden formula.

The script is fine but does have its fair chunk of cheesy dialogue and some very – I was going to say strong religious undertones but that would be downplaying it to be honest. The whole story ends up about religion and we get characters constantly standing or walking in a cross pose. A cross necklace plays a big part of the story too but I’m not sure what the message was supposed to be. Have faith and everything will be okay seems to be it (unless you’re a murderer then it’s tough luck. Well unless you murdered to save your own life – then it gets a bit confusing I guess!).

There’s a highly experienced cast that generally do pretty well. Vernon Wells (Commando), Steven Williams (The X-Files), Michael Pare (The Virgin Suicides), Chris Mulkey (Twin Peaks) and John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard) have 931 IMDb credits to their names! That’s a staggeringly high number. They all have roles that are actually bigger than just a cameo but David Chokachi (Baywatch) takes the lead role and he’s actually pretty good. The acting and performances were definitely not the problem with the movie.

Emerald Run actually looks pretty good too. The scenery for ninety percent of the film is hills and empty land on the Mexican border but they are shot well and it’s a good backdrop to the story. The script is a bit all over the place though. This feels for the most part, like a short film idea stretched to ninety minutes and even then it feels too long. There’s plenty of filler here that includes past memories from the main character and visions from his imagination when he is unconscious.

There’s a ‘twist’ at the end, which. while it isn’t supposed to be shocking, probably still shouldn’t have got a giggle from me but it’s just there to wrap up the story all nicely and in a happy way. But the credits are a bit of a treat as well because they are soap opera like as we get short clips of the characters while cheesy music plays and the actors name runs along the screen.

Also, does everyone know exactly what green emeralds are and that they are worth alot? Because I didn’t but when a ‘normal’ person in this movie is handed one they clearly know its worth.

Emerald Run is a distinctly average drug smuggling movie without any drugs. But if you get a kick out of watching a movie with a whole lot of actors where you go “What have I seen him in?”, then you’ll probably love it.

** 2/5

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