Running Scared (2006) Poster


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  • Joey had been an FBI undercover agent for 12 years. The Feds and the New Jersey Police Department weren't sharing information on the case. The FBI suspected some of the New Jersey cops of being corrupt or "owned" by the mob. We see an example of this with Detective Rydell (Chazz Palminteri). Sal "Gummy Bear" had been busted by Rydell and had given Rydell and his dirty cops the time and place of the opening drug deal with the Jamaicans. What if Rydell had been privy to Joey being a Fed? He would have sold him out in a heart beat. When a Fed goes undercover into the mob, very few people in the Fed's life know he is an undercover agent. Joey had been collecting the dirt on the Perello family for close to 12 years -- he had dirty guns from numerous mob hits, but he didn't yet have the goods on the Boss, Frankie Perello. He also wanted to stay undercover -- or had to stay undercover -- because Perello was starting a new alliance with Ivan Yugorsky, the Boss of the Russian mob family. After being undercover for 12 years, Joey didn't want to destroy the case and walk away without nailing the top dog. It was Joey's fault that Tommy's gun ended up in Oleg's hands and Joey, through his hubris, believed he could make the situation right without having to blow his cover. He knows that if he blows his cover, his whole life is going to be upended over night. His family will have to be relocated and he'll be pulled off the street -- better to track down the gun and silence Oleg. It's possible, he also thought he could get Oleg (and maybe his mother) placed into protective custody and out from under Anzor, the abusive stepfather. Joey was "hunting" Oleg, not just to retrieve the stolen gun, but also out of concern for the boy's welfare. We believe Joey to be the Big Bad Wolf, but he turns out to be a good wolf. The filmmaker illustrates Joey's alter-ego as a snarling wolf in the animated end credits. We hear Joey on the phone with his FBI handler (right after he realizes that the gun is on the street) saying he needs help - and we assume he's talking to some unknown party about having to kill the kid -- but when he barks, "If I have to..." he's talking about blowing his cover and not about killing Oleg. I don't think the FBI wanted him to abandon his cover, either -- at least not until they realized the situation was completely out of control and Joey and his family were in extreme danger. Why didn't Joey hand over the dirty weapons to the Feds before? I can only surmise that he didn't want to take the risk of his case being compromised by other agents or have anyone in the neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods witness him meeting with strange men. He probably thought he'd just turn over the whole stash when he had enough to make his case. Edit



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