This is a film that seems to get little attention all-around. If there's anything that anyone will take away from it, it will most likely be that it was Gene Simmons first gig as an actor, and the start of his triple threat as a villain in a few 80's cult classics. It's also one of the few films legendary author Michael Crichton directed himself. So let's dig in.
Runaway is an outstanding 80's thriller, and a severely underrated one at that. I just absolutely loved the world Crichton has created in this, a slightly futuristic world where robots and computers do almost everything. Now remember, this was 1984, so these things didn't exist, at least not for every day use. There are moments in the film that are eerily premonitory to where technology has come today. Though these things are but minor details in the overall story, it's these flourishes that really give this film a unique voice.
I think one of the best things this film has going for it is that it was made in the early to mid 80's. This very specific aesthetic really drives the film, giving it a tone that works really well. I seriously doubt that it would be nearly as fun or entertaining had they made this today, or in the last 15 years. Having been released in 1984 gives the film a time-stamp, even if they try to set it in a futuristic environment, it's still very much an early 80's looking film and it's really what makes it work as well as it does.
|Gene Simmons being evil as Dr. Luther in Runaway (1984)|
All in all, it's pretty much a homerun in the 80's thriller department. It's also a solid entry in the tech-thriller genre. Everything comes together better than you expect for a highly entertaining film; killer tech, outstanding structure and solid performances, If only Crichton put as much emphasis on the visual eye candy as he did on everything else, it really could have elevated this several notches into "amazing". As it stands, it's still pretty "fantastic".