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RUNAWAY (1984) – written/directed by Michael Crichton

RUNAWAY (1984) – written/directed by Michael Crichton

by jturkin on April 5, 2011

This evening I came across a film which I was coerced into viewing. Michael Crichton’s 1984 classic, RUNAWAY, starring Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons (yes, the dude from KISS).
If you like bad movies, then you’ll love this one.

Here are ten things you’re certain to love about RUNAWAY.

10) The imdb.com synopsis: “In the near future, a police officer specializes in malfunctioning robots. When a robot turns out to have been programmed to kill, he begins to uncover a homicidal plot to create killer robots… and his son becomes a target.”

9) Near futurest = a time when we have (highly malfunctioning) robots to do our household chores (think Rosie from the Jetsons, not the Roomba) but we don’t have flat screens or smart phones.

8 ) Also from the synopsis, “… and his son becomes a target.” Spoiler ALERT! This happens in the last 10 minutes of the film. Why would they give away the third act? And it’s not even true. His son isn’t a target of the killer robots… just the guy who creates them.

7) We are introduced to Gene Simmons character when he leaves a doorbell video-message, and introduces himself as the repair guy from ACME Robot Repairs. Brilliant!

6) Except for the few main characters, none of the characters have full names. “Who is this guy?” “His name’s Johnson.”
“You just sit tight Ms. Rogers. (aside) She’s very attractive.”
Other character names, “hooker,” and “hooker at bar.”

5) Classic dialogue such as,

“Why did jack quit the regular force?”
“He tell me [sic] because of vertigo but I don’t believe him”
“Well it’s true, in a way. A few years back Jack was chasing this guy, bad guy. This guy ran into a building that was under construction. Jack freaked out. Started sweating. Couldn’t follow him. Guy got away.”
“So the guy got away?”
“Yeah, well later that night, same guy killed six people.”

3 things we learn from this dialgoue, a) when jack sweats, he can’t follow guys, b) jack hates construction sites. c) Jack hates letting guys get away.
 Add this to previously learned facts, jack hates robots, and jack has vertigo, guess where the climax takes place: on the 40th floor of an all robot construction site. And Jack is very sweaty.

4) Michael Crichton wastes 74 seconds of the climactic scene on Tom Selleck clutching to an elevator as it rises (at the “human speed” setting) to the 40th floor. We get it, Michael. He’s afraid of heights.

3) There are these Mechanical Spiders that jump on people, inject them with acid, and then explode. I feel like the injection or the explosion woul be sufficient.

Spoiler Alert: this is the penultimate scene in the film (but if you watch, please at least watch til 0:55)

2) Actor G.W. Bailey plays “Chief,” the short-tempered, uptight, by-the-rules Police Chief who constantly reminds Tom Selleck’s character what a nuisance he is.

“Just who in the hell do you think you are running an operation like this?”


“You screwed up good, Ramsay. We got two dead officers, do you understand me mister? Two. Dead. Cops! We got two wounded – one of them your own partner – and we got two dead Guinea punks, and nobody knows why or what the HELL its all about!”

If the name is familiar, that’s probably because he plays the exact same character in Police Academy (Lt. Thaddeus Harris), which also came out in 1984. Bailey was also in Short Circuit, which is funny because of this equation:
Police Academy + Short Circuit = RUNAWAY

1) This trailer. There is no way I can sum up how bad a movie is, until you see this trailer. Then you’ll get it.
Spoiler ALERT: Many of the scenes from this trailer occur during or after the film’s climax.

And if you don’t have time for the full trailer:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Ridge July 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Still, I thought that this movie fit in very well into the dystopian civilizations of “1984″, “Brave New World”, “Fahrenheit 451″, “Animal Farm”, “Atlas Shrugged”, “Fountainhead”, especially “Colossus: The Forbin Project”, And many others I currently cannot recall.


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