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Review Runaway (1984): Robots out of control!

genre: science fiction, action, crime

In the very near future the people have turned to machines and robots to do most of their mundane tasks. But sometimes these machines short circuit and go on a rampage. In that case it's up to Jack Ramsay (Tom Selleck) and his new partner Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes) to remedy this problem.

Michael Crichton has written and directed this little gem. If you ask me it's incredibly underrated especially if most of what you see in this film still could be considered futuristic. Sure more and more robots are being made and used but not to the extent as depicted in this film. Michael Crichton himself admits he didn't want to tell a cautionary tale about technology. He just wanted to tell a cops and robbers film with a twist. I think he has succeeded. I mean it sure is nice to know that if one day your vacuum robot gets murderous intentions you can call the police to deal with it. 

As with many devices and inventions you will always have people who want to misuse these for their own evil purposes. Like Luther played by Gene Simmons from Kiss. He mods or hacks some robots to make them kill certain people. Apart from certain actions most of what you get to see looks pretty realistic. The robots and machines are all practical effects and really do the things you see them do. And whether Michael Crichton intended it or not that is super creepy and scary at times. Especially if you see what the spider robots are capable off. Yes, I said spider robots. This film has freakin spider robots. If that is not enough for you to watch this film then I don't know what is. That and Gene Simmons is deliciously evil. I know that Michael Crichton claims that he his not evil but that he is more like a deadly animal who kills when someone gets in his way. He is clearly shown to be killing when not necessary or when others aren't in his way one bit. Plus he clearly enjoys killing people. So no, I don't agree with you Michael Crichton.

The best thing about this film is that the tone is quite serious and that the cast really sell this near future to you. It all could happen. People like Luther could one day start a killing spree out of greed or some other selfish reason. Most terrifying is that now more than ever there are many ways to do it without people knowing. I really love technology and most gadgets. But to have robots running or riding around in my house? No, thank you! If the futuristic theme is not your cup of tea you could also view this as a simple action film. The action is filled with thrills and tension and therefore is quite exciting. Especially when the smart bullets are used which BTW also is a reality today.

Apart from some minor elements like the computers and how some of the robots look Runaway doesn't look that dated. Could it be considered a classic? That I am not sure off. But it certainly is one you at least have to have watched once!

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