“Run Hide Fight,” screened exclusively by The Federalist ahead of its Jan. 14 premiere, tells the story of a high school senior’s quest to save her classmates from a coldblooded band of live-streaming school shooters. Written and directed by Kyle Rankin, it’s a film that major Hollywood players “shied away” from after the Parkland shooting in 2017. It’s now backed by The Daily Wire, which acquired the distribution rights and plans to premiere it next week.
“Run Hide Fight” is hardly Republican propaganda. It’s also hardly the best movie you’ll see this year. But it’s a serious piece of cinema and a fine place for The Daily Wire to start its game-changing foray into the film industry.
Leading lady Isabel May (“Young Sheldon”) is a bright spot, capably playing the difficult role of Zoe Hull with compelling and realistic emotional range. The plot moves quickly through Zoe’s rollercoaster arc, avoiding tricky political pitfalls and keeping the narrative focused on its heroine’s personal story rather than broadening the aperture.
That’s helpful to the film, for which Rankin’s admirable goal was, hypothetically, that “two friends on opposite sides of the political spectrum go see it together and then go have a beer and be able to speak and feel like the movie had honored both sides.”
Hollywood doesn’t do both sides anymore, which is why a film that does landed in the hands of a conservative media company. Playing to “both sides” may, however, be why the film lacks a compelling Eastwoodian edge. “Run Hide Fight” is also uneven, as May’s excellent performance mingles with some cheesy dialogue, hard-to-believe plot points, and cartoonish villains.
It does, however, give responsible gun owners a very rare, very fair shake. Critics have already complained “Run Hide Fight” is exploitive, depicting school shootings through a “Die Hard” lens. But it’s not exploitive because it’s sincere. As a reviewer who attended school almost entirely after Columbine, some of the film’s early scenes were aggressively graphic. But some were also arresting.
All this is to say, “Run Hide Fight” is pretty much what people have come to expect from video-on-demand fare. It won’t knock your socks off or win any awards, but it’ll definitely keep your attention. That makes The Daily Wire’s involvement in the controversial project a very big deal.
Trumpeted in a press release as the outlet’s “first major film acquisition,” co-CEO Jeremy Boreing explained he was “attracted” to “Run Hide Fight” because “Kyle Rankin had the courage to bring to light many of the realities of” Columbine “for the first time.”
“This is a gut-wrenching film that refuses to offer easy talking points, which is why liberal Hollywood executives have refused to distribute it,” Boreing added. That’s a fair point.
Producer Dallas Sonnier said he’s “proud to work with The Daily Wire as the exclusive North American distributor,” continuing, “The Daily Wire’s policy of not publishing the names of mass shooters made it an ideal partner. If this film has a political viewpoint, it’s that we should not make terrorists famous; it’s the heroes whose names we should remember.”
The Daily Wire is among the legacy media’s biggest cultural blindspots. Co-founder Ben Shapiro alone reaches an unbelievably wide audience on a daily basis, bringing a sharp and persuasive conservative message far beyond the right’s usual media borders. For years, conservatives have tried and failed to beat Hollywood at its own game, attempting to package right-of-center arguments in movies of their own.
It really never works. But The Daily Wire is well-positioned to finally change that and grow the right’s cultural influence through cinema.
“’Run Hide Fight’ is a preview of our plans and the type of movies and series we will offer in the not-too-distant future,” Boreing said in the press release. “Like this film, our entertainment content won’t be overtly political, but it will reflect our values.”
That’s the key. It’s why country music has more religious influence than most Christian pop. Hollywood gets away with overtly partisan projects because the left enjoys a monopoly in Tinsel Town. But that monopoly is also what will allow The Daily Wire, in the age of new media, to tap into an underserved consumer base. That’s the people turned off by Hollywood’s boring partisan hackery but utterly disinterested in more of the same from the right.
“Our mission is simple,” Boreing stated. “We will make great entertainment that all Americans can enjoy, regardless of their political views. If you’re fed-up with the cultural edicts of our country’s self-appointed moral overlords in Hollywood and legacy media, stay tuned.”
Not only does that approach make for more interesting art, it’s also more persuasive.
The film will premiere during a Daily Wire Backstage special on Jan. 14 co-hosted by Shapiro and Boreing, and will be available to Daily Wire members afterwards at RunHideFightMovie.com