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Thursday, August 28, 2014

1984-A-Thon: Runaway

Before we begin I would like to thank Forgotten Films for allowing Simplistic Reviews to join this fantastic 1984-A-Thon. A lot of great reviews for the amazing year of 1984. Head over to Forgotten Films for more!

And use #84athon on twitter to keep up to date!

So what does Tom Selleck’s Mustache and a Dog sniffing robot have in common? They’re both part of a special division of the police department called the Runaway Squad that goes after Gene Simmons of KISS.

Yep that’s right there is a movie that has that and it’s called…

Runaway: Fun
1984 - Action - 99 mins


Runaway is a futuristic film staring Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons, Stan Shaw, Cynthia Rhodes and Kirstie Alley. Selleck plays a police officer that specializes in malfunctioning robots. This future robot driven world was Directed and Written by the late great Michael Crichton, who I think created a very interesting film that doesn’t get much attention. Runaway isn’t a bad film it's extremely fun to watch and it’s a damn shame this film isn’t better known.


The Good

Tom Selleck was great in his role as Jack Ramsay. Michael Crichton takes a risk casting Kiss's Gene Simmons as the bad guy, Charlie Luther. Simmons looks the part, his stare is fantastic. He is very menacing and in my mind knocked it out of the park. I only wish his delivering with his lines was a bit better, otherwise I was impressed. Kirstie Alley pops up for a few scenes and she was pretty good. Cynthia Rhodes did a very good job playing Selleck's partner and love interest. It's a shame she doesn't act anymore I really liked her in this film.

Jerry Goldsmith comes in for music and kills it with his first pure electronic score. I really dig this film's score and feel it works perfectly with Crichton's vision.

Crichton does a good job directing this one. He really understood how to create suspenseful scenes. There is a scene with a robot killing family members and Crichton sets this up that makes you go to the edge of your seat. The other is when Ramsay goes up in a elevator. Ramsay is scared of heights and you can feel his pain as he makes his way up.

The Weak

For me the pacing is a little off in this film. I feel some scenes get too slow and others a bit unneeded. The writing is okay, from Crichton I would expect more. It's not bad but every time I watch this film I get very annoyed with Selleck character's name being thrown around. Turns out Ramsay is said 52 times which is more then once for every two minutes. I thought it was just me, but IMDB has this in their trivia so I'm not the only one that thought that apparently.

The Bad

For me the the worst part of this film is the beginning. It starts off with Selleck and his new partner, Cynthia Rhodes going after a malfunctioning farm bot that ends pretty cheesy. This beginning is very unneeded and if I had my way I’d take it out. Yes there is some foreshadowing going on in this scene but my feeling is we could of moved it to the next malfunctioning robot scene.

For anyone watching this film for the first time might start losing there attention here. The bot isn’t dangerous and is just running around. Yet the group of “male” farmers call in the police to chase it. For me these farmers could easily stopped the bot (Maybe it’s for insurance purpose, maybe) but it wasn’t dangerous. And in doing so we have this guy and girl having a Benny Hill police chase that ensues with a farm bot. Every time I watch this scene this is what I see and hear, which isn’t what you want in a dark film like this. The ending for this scene is the two officers jumping together with arms spread outward onto the bot which cuts to them carrying it with dirt and smoke covering their faces. Maybe if the robot was killing farmers and cattle I would find this a tad more interesting, but the comical chasing makes this scene weak.

All in all Runaway is a good watch. If you haven't seen Runaway do yourself a favor and check it out. It's a fun 80's film to watch. It has 80's action, 80's boobs, 80's Tom Selleck and Tom Selleck's Mustache. Gene Simmons is a great bad guy and Goldsmith delivers once again on music.

Check out Forgotten Films for more of the 1984-A-Thon!


6 comments:

  1. I remember this one - liked it too. Isn't this the one with the smart bullets that track their victims? Those cool 6 legged robots injecting people - and that robot that zooms a long the freeway, gets under your car and - boom! Need to watch this again. When I first saw this I had no idea who Gene Simmons was! thanks!

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    1. Yea it is. Smart bullets and 6 legged robots injecting people with poison. Its a fun watch.

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  2. I think the idea for this film was better than the final product. I could imagine the pitch for this movie; "So it's about America in the future, populated with robots. There are so many that there are even robo-police who come in to safe the citizens when the robots go haywire, or are programed to commit crimes. But we'll build REAL robots to make the movie seem futuristic but grounded in reality. Everybody likes robots, right?". The problem with that is... real robots suck. They are just doofy looking droids that are glorified RC cars. I think this movie had a good idea, but the end result was a little... weak. -Cory

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    1. Agree. Its not a great film but I've always found this film to be a fun watch. Michael Crichton does a respectfully job directing. The writing is a bit off. Yes the robots do suck, but I think the concept of this film and Simmons as Luther draws me in and well Selleck is Selleck lol. Instead of ruining the masterpiece that is Blade Runner, I'd rather see this films concept get a updated treatment. That said I don't believe in remakes.

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  3. I've never even heard of this film. I'm not sure it's my style, but I really enjoyed your review, especially the way you categorized your impressions.

    I can only imagine how fun Gene Simmons would be as the bad guy. Come of think of it, I might hunt this down after all. :)

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    1. Its a fun film but I don't think it's for everyone. Some cheesy moments and bad dialogue, but its fun.

      Speaking of bad...

      If you like Gene Simmons as a bad guy check out Never to Young to Die, It's bad but good bad...well maybe its just bad. John Stamos is the star and when he made it big he spent a lot of money buying up all the VHS copies of the film. He hates it that bad. Tough film to find (thanks to youtube you can watch it). I might have to do a review if your interested in it.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091621/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_25

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