Runaway is a real
Michael Crichton tour de force. Not only did the famed author think up
the original story and turn it into a screenplay, he also directed the
It turned out well,
Runaway is an imaginative
yarn of the near future in which household and industrial robots are practically
ubiquitous, so much so that a special police unit has been formed to handle
their inevitable breakdowns (called "runaways").
Tom Selleck plays
Jack Ramsay, a police sergeant in the Runaway unit. He's a widower single
parent and, at Runaway's opening, has assigned to him a new partner (well
played by Cynthia Rhodes). They immediately head out for their first gig,
a minor malfunction that sees an agricultural robot wreaking havoc on
a corn field.
This sets the scene
and the mood very well, and gets the audience ready for the next renegade
robot, a far more serious "breakdown" in which a domestic robot is holed
up in a residence, armed with a gun it has already used to deadly effect.
It turns out, however,
that this was no ordinary runaway. It was, in fact, a deliberate sabotage
designed by a high tech mad scientist (Kiss' Gene Simmons) bent on unleashing
robotic terror by selling his technologies (including a smart bullet that
chases its target around corners) to the highest bidder.
By the time the closing
credits roll we've been treated to a high tech thrill ride with remote
controlled attack droids, deadly spider-like robots, and a high rise cliffhanging
Selleck is an underrated
actor and he's very good in Runaway, bringing strength, bravery and vulnerability
to his role. Simmons makes a delicious villain, and Kirstie Alley has
a meaty supporting role as his moll.
Runaway is a good
yarn, well conceived and well made, and a story that gives us a glimpse
into a robot-laced future that, with any luck, won't be too far off.
The DVD is presented
in widescreen and Pan&Scan on opposite sides, and audio/video quality
(the sound is Dolby 4.0 "discrete") are very good. Extras include talent
files and the trailer.
Runaway, from Columbia
Tristar Home Video
100 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1)/Pan&Scan, Dolby 4.0 "discrete" Digital
Starring Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley
Written and Directed by Michael Crichton
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