Runaway (1984)
February 17, 2020 2:01 PM - Subscribe

In the near future, a police officer (Tom Selleck) specializes in malfunctioning robots. When a robot turns out to have been programmed to kill, he begins to uncover a homicidal plot to create killer robots... and his son becomes a target. Written and directed by Michael Crichton.

With Joey Kramer (D.A.R.Y.L, The Flight of the Navigator), Cynthia Rhodes, Kirstie Alley, Stan Shaw, and Gene Simmons. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.

Currently available streaming in the US via Crackle.
posted by DirtyOldTown (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not actually a good movie, but a memorable one for many Gen Xerss. This is as much or more for its ubiquitous presence on cable as for its scattered good ideas and a few mildly redeeming performances.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:03 PM on February 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Heh, I watched this as a child and for years was unable to place my memory of the finale tower scene with the killer spider robots. Then came the internet.
posted by Query at 4:05 PM on February 17, 2020

I too saw this as a child. It was probably my first exposure to robots and such and their speculated place in the near future. At the time, it was certainly scary and thrilling.

I've actually caught most of it lately as it has been on cable; some channel was recycling it for a few days. It is a weird movie to watch now in the 21st century. Not only as a lot of its tech not come to pass, but they way they speculated that tech would enter society was pretty clumsy. I need to see it again to better articulate the thoughts I was having.

I hate that kid actor. Maybe in real life he was not an idiot, but all the characters I've ever seen him play were clueless. Maybe it's just because at that age I was far more self-aware than most children?
posted by Fukiyama at 4:52 PM on February 17, 2020

Yes, what I most remember about this movie is the ridiculous gun whose bullets would follow you around corners and through doorways and, one imagines, hound you until the end of your days, but only at a brisk walking pace so it was quite easy to dodge them or just out run them.
posted by Naberius at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2020

The bullets are hilarious.

On the other hand, "floater cameras" are essentially drones a few decades early.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:04 AM on February 18, 2020

TIL that during a lull in her acting career Cynthia Rhodes took over as lead vocalist in Animotion for a few years.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:28 AM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

They played this a lot when I was a kid. Was it because of Tom Selleck? I don't know but it was a favourite of my metal head brother because of Gene Simmons so I likely saw it more than I cared to. I recall liking the robots...

The IMDB offers this bit of trivia, which I must admit is weird:
"Reported to be the favorite movie of former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. During his trial in 1989, after which he was executed, Ceausescu invoked star Tom Selleck's name and that of his character in this movie several times."
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:32 AM on February 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Isn't this the movie where they strip Kirstie Alley (mostly) naked to find a bug? And y'all watched this movie as kids?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:54 AM on February 18, 2020

Hey, she still had her bra on! (I think...)

This was one of Tom's attempts at a big movie career. But it just never happened for Tom. He was too much Magnum for audiences, I expect.

The seeker bullets were pretty much the only future tech in the movie that were implausible.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:37 AM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Remembered it mostly for Gene Simmons, who, based on this and playing another villain in the Rutger Hauer vehicle Wanted: Dead or Alive, seems to have been born a gross old man. (KISS just came through Peoria, on what they're promising is their farewell tour, and I pointed at Simmons in full regalia in the local paper and told a co-worker, "This guy is 70.")

Also, Cynthia Rhodes! Without either having seen her or heard Animotion since about the mid-eighties, I thought, yeah, that sounds right.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:41 PM on February 18, 2020

Isn't this the movie where they strip Kirstie Alley (mostly) naked to find a bug? And y'all watched this movie as kids?

Ha, this was nothing compared to the other gratuitous nudity in heavy rotation on cable back then -- Porky's, Beastmaster, Conan the Barbarian, not to mention the movies Joe Bob Briggs did intros & outros for on Cinemax late at night.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:52 PM on February 18, 2020

My mini-review is that it is an extremely GIFable movie.
posted by ckape at 5:26 AM on February 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

And y'all watched this movie as kids?

The 80s was a very different era. I recall watching a lot very crazy films before I was 10. I wouldn't dream of letting my kid watch much of it now (and I've let him watch a lot of crazy - we watched Turkish Star Wars a couple weeks ago as an example). Sometimes my hazy memory for the content of movies leads me to some parenting moments where we have to have long conversations why some things are no longer acceptable (the homophobia in Monster Squad and the racism and misogyny in Cannonball Run are two recent examples).
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:51 AM on February 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh god yeah, Monster Squad. I remembered it as fun kids vs. classic monsters silliness, but the dialogue was so loaded with homophobia, it made us all wildly uncomfortble and we had to turn it off.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:33 AM on February 19, 2020

We just recently watched Monster Squad again and it's not just homophobia, but also a ridiculous amount of misogyny there too (I guess it's a Shane Black staple?). Serious question: Is there a single female character in that movie that even gets a name? I know the kids' sisters and mothers don't.
posted by haileris23 at 5:10 AM on February 20, 2020

Though it's unusual in the way it has ubiquitous robots that are more like machines than like humans but metal.

If they did a reboot now, they'd have lots of robots built like the Boston Dynamics dog robots.
posted by RobotHero at 1:37 PM on February 20, 2020

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