Blu-ray: Runaway (1984)
Jack Ramsay (Tom Selleck) is a police officer in the near future (1991 to be precise… one of the many things you will learn via the commentary track by film critic Kevin Lyons) who specialises in cases involving malfunctioning robots, or “runaway’s” as they are known within their section of the police.
Disarming a robot which has been programmed to kill, Ramsay discovers that psychotic genius Luther (Gene Simmons) is selling computer chips on the black market that can turn robotic domestic helpers into killing machines.
Battling not only his fear of heights, but also with being given a rookie female partner (Cynthia Rhodes), Ramsay soon discovers that there is much more at stake here than high value computer chips, especially when Luther finds out that Ramsay has a son and uses him as the ultimate bait.
Full disclosure, I did a 70 mile round trip back in 1985 when Runaway opened here in UK cinemas, as that was the closest place showing it. Being a KISS fan since 1979, I took every opportunity to see Gene Simmons on the big screen in his relatively new acting career. So 101 Films releasing this on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK had me squealing in delight when it dropped through the letterbox.
Written and directed by Michael Crichton, Runaway may not be his most well known movie in either of those 2 disciplines, but it sure as hell is a very enjoyable action/sci-fi story which doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Selleck was in the middle of his hugely successful run as TV detective Magnum P.I. during the making of this, and cut his hair short in an attempt to help viewers see him as a different person. He’s still an amiable character, but is more flawed than his Hawaiian based counterpart. He also possess that certain screen presence which draws you into the narrative of whatever part he is playing.
Cynthia Rhodes was hot off starring in Flashdance and Staying Alive, but walked away from acting just a few years after Runaway to concentrate on family life. Her performance here makes me wish that she had more films on her resumé.
This was Gene Simmons first major acting part sans makeup, and set the mould early for many evil and intimidating characters which he would go on to play…and play well if I may say so.
Runaway doesn’t have any narrative fat and its 139 minute running time whips by in an enjoyable series of car chases, gun fights, out of control robots, and a blossoming relationship…which culminates in possibly the longest kissing scene in cinematic history.
Whether you’ve seen it before or have never yet experienced seeing a “spider robot” squirt acid at people, then this is the blu-ray you have been waiting for.
- Brand new commentary with film critic Kevin Lyons
If you want to buy anything reviewed on our site (or anything at all!), then please use the Amazon link provided and help support us with our website and podcast. Thank you.