Runaway, set in the unknown future, follows Tom Selleck's mustachioed police office character who is some sort of authority on robots that kill and those who program them to do their bidding. The movie is absurd and amazing. There is so much to love. Selleck. Michael Crichton wrote and directed. Gene Simmons as the surprisingly cool antagonist. Kirstie Alley. And then there are the fucking robots.
This was a favorite from childhood. I remember this being god tier. While amazing, there were some things. But it did have acid filled, occasionally exploding, robot spiders. So there is that... But overall, I still fucking loved it.
Here is some cool shit Selleck had to say about the movie: “Jack Ramsay is not exactly a character whose name is on the tip of everybody’s tongue, but Runaway was a really great popcorn movie... It was very futuristic, it had robots and all sorts of stuff, and it was a nice movie. It was a good movie that I’m very proud of. It didn’t do very well, which was a great disappointment to Michael, who became a friend. And Gene Simmons was in it! Gene hadn’t been in a feature film before, but he was great.We had some great talks and good times... I know it [the plot] sounds hokey, but with Michael Crichton at the helm, it was pretty good stuff.”
Pros: Selleck's mustache. Simmons (believe it or not). Crichton. Have I mentioned the robot spiders?
Cons: Feels very low budget but can't be. Three or four 15 minute scenes of boring ramblings. I can't see my younger self being too into that. It also had way less action than I remembered.
Disclaimer: My notes pretty much always contain some spoilers but I rarely give away the ending.
|The 80s loved themselves some robot butlers|
Notes: This was Crichton's 1984 idea of what about now would be like. Fucking nailed it. This is in the 1980s so there is a lot just-make-up-all-the-tech. They throw a bunch of fancy tech nonsense around and then use giant cell phones. Most of the robots look like the Never-Ending Pie-Throwing Robot (Neptr) from adventure time.
There are like five scenes that just drag on forever in this movie. The scene towards the beginning that is basically a 20 minutes standoff with a robot (which I will detail a bit), the scene where Simmons like negotiates with this guy (who he just ends up killing) for these “templates” for these heat seeking bullets that ultimately pays off with the first showing of a spider, the scene where Selleck and his lady partner go to his house and meet his fucking annoying kid, the scene where Selleck removes an exploding bullet from his partner's arm (one would assume that Selleck has medical training too or something), and the scene where the police are searching this bathroom for Simmons (they spend 15 fucking minutes in the bathroom and then don't find him).
So the aforementioned scene at the beginning with the robot standoff is the most ridiculous thing I've ever fucking seen. A family lives at this house. Mom, dad, baby. The robot has killed the mom. The dad is out of the house and leaves when they start to ask questions (Simmons wants him dead and he freaks out and just bounces) and the fucking baby is still in the house with the robot who is in a murderous rage. Eventually, after like 10 minutes of procedural masturbation, Selleck goes in. The news is there. Selleck is like tiptoeing in all quiet. Then, all of the sudden, this camera guy fucking follows him in. He just walks in like an idiot. Selleck silently is like “what the fuck are you doing?” The guy silently is like, “go fuck yourself,” and this robot that has a gun and is set to murder immediately fucking shoots him in the face. Here we see Simmons for the first time. He looks like Telly Savalas with hair.
|Kojack, the early years|
At the station, we see that in this future you can smoke inside. During this scene Selleck logs onto his computer and his entire file pops up. There on his computer we see that character is 35. He looks so fucking old. He's always been a grizzled old man. There we also get introduced to a young, bitchy, pre-nose job Kirstie Alley. Blame it on Scientology. She eventually gets held hostage by a rogue robot that shoots blue lightning. Lots of blue lightning and red lasers in this movie. Ah, to be a red laser or blue lightning salesman in the 1980s. You'd still be made. Anyway, Selleck beats that robot to death with a chair which is a little weird.
|In the future, they are also lax about interdepartmental romance|
While transporting Alley, who was Simmons's girl who he now wants dead, we see another Simmons gadget. These are like these little wheeled honing missiles they call “lock-ons” and are not to be confused with “hop-ons” (Arrested fans?). They look fucking stupid. Eventually though he catches up to them and kidnaps Selleck's partner. What he does is so poorly thought out. He swaps Alley for this chick at a restaurant and immediately kills Alley which was insane. Now he has to jump two stories from the eatery into a fountain that is at most nine inches deep and hide out in the woods to make his escape. All of this is for these dumb fucking templates.
Getting toward the end here. Simmons, ever the kidnapper, nabs Selleck's kid. Goes to this tall building that is being constructed. There are spiders everywhere. At around this point I sort of realized that the movie is basically a less complex Vertigo with robot spiders. There is a bunch of stuff about Selleck being afraid of heights which he has to overcome to save the day in the end. That and doing a fucking pull up. So this movie, which I loved, can basically be skipped if you watch this one scene. If you watch this, then you get the gist.