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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

RUNAWAY (1984) Dir. Michael Crichton. Written by Michael Crichton. Starring: Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley, Chris Mulkey, G.W. Bailey, and Stan Shaw.

It Is The Future. He fought the horror of robots programmed to kill.

Runaway is the kind of movie I am all for seeing remade . . . if we could keep the performances and the majority of the script. It simply needs a visual make-over and a defter hand than Michael Crichton to smooth over some of the minor scenes between set pieces. Since that's a pipedream, I must say, Hollywood keep your dirty mitts off of this one. We will have to accept it as it is, warts and all. That said, it's a smart script with some cool ideas - a Crichton specialty - and a tremendously skeezy villain played by the King of 80's Skeeze, Gene Simmons (Never Too Young to Die, Wanted: Dead or Alive) armed with heat seeking bullets and an army of acid spitting robot spiders. If that description alone doesn't make you want to dig this one up, you're in the wrong place, friend-o. Moustache and Dollface are apparently the only members of the Force's Runaway unit tasked with stopping runaway robots who apparently ya know runaway every couple of hours. Best part, these rogue robots look like home stereo systems and microwave ovens. When the Runaway unit gets called to a homicide it turns out that one of the toaster ovens has stabbed two women to death and is holding a baby hostage with a .357 magnum. Moustache deploys a primitive drone to scope the scene and then moves in for the kill. Turns out the toaster oven has some unauthorized upgrades: it was programmed to kill! Of course, ol' Cow Tongue himself is behind the whole scam with plans to sell these new programmed to murder microchips to the highest bidder. From there on out we've got a high-speed chase with self-destructing drones, heat-seeking bullet POV, jumping robot spiders and out of control elevators. Moustache is solid in one of the very few feature films he starred in that was not total pap. Dollface aka Cynthia Rhodes is great and her chemistry with Moustache is believable. Besides Staying Alive, and Dirty Dancing it doesn't look like she did much else which is a shame because she was obviously much more than a pretty face. Bonus points for a slightly evil Kirstie Alley and Police Academy's own Harris (G.W. Bailey) showing up for a few scenes with absolutely no bearing on the plot whatsoever. All in all, a good way to spend an evening especially if you watch this in a double feature with Crichton's previous film, Looker - another movie with great, prescient ideas and a less than stellar execution. 

 

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