Synopsis: In the near future, a police officer (Tom Selleck) specializes in malfunctioning robots. When he discovers a robot programmed to kill, he begins to uncover a deep homicidal plot… and his son becomes a target.
Review: While once again sifting through the available films to stream on Amazon Prime. I came across this 1984 sci-fi in which Tom Selleck not only takes on killer robots but also has to take on a psychotic criminal called Luther.
‘Runaway’ was a film that was both written and directed by the late Michael Crichtonand was shown often on BBC One during the late 80’s and early 90’s. The film’s story was very much based around the writer’s fascination with the dangers of future technology, but at its heart, we have a very human character in Selleck’s cop Jack Ramsey.
To be honest. This story felt very much like it could well have been lifted from a comic book, which is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed the film when first seen in the 1980’s and still quite enjoyed it after revisiting it.
The story is fairly straightforward. Jack Ramsey, who specializes in disarming malfunctioning robots that are known as runaways finds himself partnered with rookie cop Thompson who is played by Cynthia Rhodes, who is best known for her roles in ‘Staying Alive’, Flash Dance’, and ‘Dirty Dancing’.
When their investigation into a homicidal robot leads them to the psychotic Luther. They must race against time to catch him before he does any more damage.
The film, which is set in a near future has a few interesting ideas such as robotic spiders that stab you with a syringe filled with acid before blowing up and smart bullets, which can be programmed to track human heat signatures. But the tech is second fiddle to Gene Simmons who plays the evil Luther and probably doesn’t have to act that much to pull it off.
While the visual effects are primitive by today’s standards. They still hold up fairly well, but when you watch. You can just picture what those spiders and smart bullets would be like if modern effects were used. For example, the smart bullets would probably use bullet time or something similar.
The thing that dates this movie the most aside from the tight perms and so forth is the soundtrack, which used a lot of synths and still annoys the shit out of me to this day.
Tom Selleck puts in a thoughtful performance as your average cop with a great knowledge of robotics and Cynthia Rhodes is fairly convincing as rookie cop Thompson. But the film belongs to the spider robots and Gene Simmons.
We get other big names from the 80’s in the form of Kirstie Ally and G.W. Bailey who would go on to be best known for the ‘Police Academy’ movies.
Admittedly. This movie is very cheesy and was cheesy back when it was made, but at the same time, it is still entertaining if watched with both an appreciation of the absurd and because it stars Tom ‘, Freakin’ Selleck.
It’s a fun film and a good way to spend an hour and 40 minutes if you are at a loose end and feel nostalgic.
- Visual Effects7.5
- Incidental Music7.0