RUNAWAY (1984)




Fact: Tom Selleck has never once starred in a single movie, ever. His mustache however has topped the bill on dozens! As a mustache enthusiast I can tell you on a personal level it’s incredibly hard to grow a stache that commands that much respect, but goddammit Selleck has done just that. That is, of course, until he shaved it off in recent years and I lost all respect for the man! But the year was 1984, it was the height of the “stache years” and Tom decided to take a couple months off from starring in one of the best TV shows of the 80’s to film a movie about robots gone haywire. The end result is the Michael Crichton written and directed flick RUNAWAY.





Jack Ramsay is absolutely NOT a cop on the edge! His acrophobia pretty much assures he’s not going near ANY ledges over 5 feet. Jack’s job is tracking down and figuring out how to deactivate malfunctioning robots. Runaways are what they call them, but that just sounds like a kid who hates their daddy for his inappropriate touching. We learn Jack has just lost a partner who couldn’t keep up with him and this is the day he gets his new partner. Enter Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes), a ditsy blond who seems to be in the police force because she’s too dumb/picky to keep any other job. THIS is what’s protecting our streets! Heaven help us.


After a couple easy outings they get called to a house where a “runaway” roomba decided to stab the shit out of a couple women and now has a fucking gun! No biggie right? In this world of hyper aware ultrabots they can just send in an armored protectorbot 9000, Right? NOPE! Apparently, Rosie is more powerful than anything the police force has! That’s not a openly glaring plot hole right there or anything? Why do they have robots that can just about do anything, but then NOT have robots that can help keep real live humans out of harms way when the first batch of bots go bonkers? C’mon Mike, we know you’re a better writer than that! Well turns out that the sweep up bot was tampered with and programmed to kill the owner of the house who, by chance, just happens to be the man who CREATED the chips that were used to reprogram the damn bot!


The plot thickens as we learn that the chips were originally created for an insane electronics genius, Charles Luther (Gene Simmons of KISS). Luther is now looking to get his hands on the rest of his chips and the templates to make more. The whole “killer computer chip” thing today just sounds silly, everything is online and connected to the interwebs. Imagine you wanted to murder someone by making their veggie chopper robot cut their head off. You’d have to find a way to sneak into their house and then open up the bot and install the new chip, that means you’d have to have an education in computer hardware just to even know where to put the thing. Seems like a lot of work to kill someone, compared to Luther’s other options.





Luther’s cast of killer robots is primary these killer spider bots that look like their made from erector sets and a “human seeking” bullet. The robots are cool, but really seem like they just SHOULDN’T work! The bullets on the other hand are amazingly effective! They can be programmed to hunt down one particular person, even doing a U-Turn if it misses you. Think about it, Luther could technically just shoot out his window and the damn thing will just hunt down it’s intended target.


The women in this film seem to only be there to act as bargaining chips and to be held hostage. Thompson spends most of the film in some kind of trouble, leaving Ramsay to save her (admittedly cute) ass. Luther’s bargaining chip comes in the form of a young and HOT Kirstie Alley, it brings a tear to my eye how incredibly hot she was back then. Luther even goes so far as to kidnap Ramsay’s kid, what a bastard! So, does little Ramsay get away safe so does he suffer the same fate as Kirstie Alley? To grow old and get fat I mean…


Grab your R2 unit and put him on drink duty, get nice and drunk and pop this bitch on! It’s not the best movie and makes very little sense to today’s audience, but if you chemically induce a mental shutdown you’ll enjoy the shit out of this silly, over the top killer robot flick!



3 Sinister Gene Simmons out of 5



Drink up! We’ve got movies to watch.

Jon Abrams

Editor-In-Chief at Daily Grindhouse
Jon Abrams is a New York-based writer, cartoonist, and committed cinemaniac whose complete work and credits can be found at his site, Demon’s Resume. You can contact him on Twitter as @JonZilla___.
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  • Reply
    August 12, 2011

    Such an underrated classic! I think I’m going to do as you suggest and finish all of this Sun King and pop this bad boy in.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011

    I share mustache solidarity with the Selleck.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011

    Hello. impressive job. I did not anticipate this. This is a remarkable story. Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 13, 2011

      Thanks Sharolyn, really appreciated.

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