Awfully Good #74

Runaway (1984)

Director: Michael Crichton
Stars: Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley


Is there a plot?

Tom Selleck fights household appliances gone wrong


What's the damage?

Gene Simmons happy.

RUNAWAY sounded amazing on paper. Futuristic cop Tom Selleck taking on Kiss’ Gene Simmons’ evil genius and his army of small-to-medium sized robots. Plus, moustache. Unfortunately, the wild card of quality that we didn’t count on is writer/director Michael Crichton.

Gene Simmons sad.

Yes, that Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain, who always manages to combine fast-paced plots with interesting ideas and well-researched science. Here he has another interesting idea well ahead of it’s time, although similar to THE TERMINATOR (which came out the same year to greater success), but on a much smaller scale. The idea of robots turning against us is scary, but not so much when they’re small and easily defeated. The thought of small helper bots and household appliances going rogue (like the Jetsons-esque robot maid in this film, who dies a hilariously tragic, honorable death) is probably the most realistic scenario, but not the most exciting cinematically. When RUNAWAY opens with our heroes chasing a tiny, defenseless farming robot through a cornfield, you know what kind of movie you’re in for.

Gene Simmons slightly erotic.

Like a moustached god, Tom Selleck is a robot fighting badass in this movie. Except all you know about his character is that he’s terrified of heights and loves his son to an annoying degree. Thus one can surmise that the film’s climax will involve him having to rescue his periled offspring from somewhere up high. And it does. The man responsible for such child endangerment? None other than the film’s amazing villain Dr. Luther, played with ominous glee by Kiss bassist and tongue maestro Gene Simmons. Simmons scowls and glares his way through the entire role. His entire performance literally consists of staring and looking evil. They could’ve used a cardboard cutout of the man and the movie wouldn’t be different one bit.

Gene Simmons pooping.

Overall, RUNAWAY isn’t a great movie by any means, but it’s not as bad as it could’ve or should’ve been. And while the spider robot attacks are gloriously cheesy, my favorite part of the movie is the end credits, which consists of text over a 5 minute scene of Selleck and his partner awkwardly making out. Why is it awkward? For one, Selleck was minutes before sprayed in the face with horrible acid, which can’t be pleasant for the lady. He also, for some unknown reason, enjoys rubbing her nose repeatedly during the kissing. And this all occurs while Selleck’s recently kidnapped and emotionally scarred son is waiting for them just offscreen. Thankfully, Tom Selleck waits for no man (or child).

Gene Simmons fighting off an army of intelligent spider robots that he created for maniacal purposes but have ironically turned against him at the end of the film.

"Best" Line

This lady throws out an insult to Tom Selleck that shook me to the core.


"Best" Parts

1) A montage of the super cheesy spider robots attacking people. BONUS: Gene Simmons resurrection!


2) This robot is determined to get (a younger, skinnier) Kirstie Alley undressed. Finally…technology I can get behind!


Nudity Watch

A random topless girl during a police raid. Kirstie Alley in her bra. Naked moustache.


Enjoyableness Continuum:

Help Gene Simmons get more work! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Someone says “Ramsay”
  • Tom Selleck’s kid asks a question

Double shot when:

  • Tom Selleck curses


Thanks to Stephan for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic
Tags: awfully good



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