Tearing up the track at 100 miles-per-hour, Runaway Train features hair-raising footage (Leonard Maltin) and spectacular, OscarĀ(r)-nominated* performances by Jon Voight and Eric Roberts. Packed with action, suspense and... more » a powerful climax that will sweep you away (The New YorkDaily News), Runaway Train is an intense...stunning...astonishing (Roger Ebert) super-thriller! Manny (Voight) is the toughest convict in a remote Alaskan prison who, along with fellow inmate Buck (Roberts), makes a daring breakout. Hopping a freight train, they head full-steam for freedom, but when the engineer dies of a heart attack, they find themselves trapped, alone and speeding toward certain disaster. Until, that is, they discover a third passenger, a beautiful railroad worker (Rebecca DeMornay) who's just as desperateand just as determined to surviveas they are! *1985: Actor (Voight), Supporting Actor (Roberts)« less
"I'm a railfan -- i try to go to virtually every "train" movie that i hear about. I've seen some mediocre films ("Breakheart Pass"), some Awful Films ("The Cassandra Crossing") and some Pretty Good films ("Silver Streak") that way.And i saw "Runaway Train" -- an Incredible Film.With Jon Voight nominated for Both Oscar and Golden Globe (which he won) as Best Actor, and Eric Roberts nominated for both Oscar and Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor, and featuring Rebecca deMornay in a decidedly UN-glamourous role, this is obviously not your standard action film.And when one adds that the original screenplay was by Akira Kurosawa, one realises that this is NOT the usual Golan-Globus production at all, at all.In brief, the story is simple -- two cons, one old and experienced and dangerous and one young, cocky and ignorant, break out of a max security prison in Alaska, hop a train headed for the Lower 48, and find themselves (along with a female railroad worker) on a hair-raising ride to nowhere on a runaway train with no brakes and no engineer.But the performances and the nuances make this film Something Special Indeed.Voight's portrayal of Manny, the man so dangerous that for three years his cell door was *welded* shut, is scary, compelling and sympathetic by turns. "Anything that doesn't kill me makes me stronger" is his motto.Eric Roberts's performance as the cocky young loser, destined to spend major parts of his life inside, who can't even recognise good advice when Manny practically rubs his nose in it, is at almost the same level, and honestly deserving of the "Best Supporting" nominations he earned for it.John P. Ryan, as Assistant Warden Rankin, Manny's antagonist and would-be nemesis, is adequate, but not up to the level of performance of Voight and Roberts.In the end, after all of the incredible stunt work and amazing train work, after all of the violence and emotion, it comes down to two big men (Manny and Rankin) finally confronting each other, in one final test to prove which is the stronger.Along the way, Voight, playing the existential monster to the hilt, gives us a view of a man who knows all too vividly that he long ago chose the wrong road, but also knows that there is no turning back for him.When the girl screams at him that he is an animal, he replies "No -- Worse! Human!"He tries to set the kid straight -- tells him that if he's smart he'll find a job flipping burgers or scrubbing toilets, and do it well and earn his pay -- "...and, if you could do that, you could be President of the United States." But the kid knows better -- he wonders why this big tough guy is talking such nonsense; and he doesn't hear the longing in Manny's voice.And the final confrontation and the end -- after one last, horrifying and exhilirating stunt sequence -- is exactly what the film needs for its perfect conclusion; as exhilirating and appropriate in its way as the end of "Thelma & Louise" or of "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid".Be warned -- this is a brutally, horrifyingly violent film (i spent a lot of time wincing and cringing, reacting in a way that most film violence doesn't bother me), and the language used, while probably somewhat less graphic than actual cons would use, is not for Little Old Ladies.Add in the Almost Perfect portrayal of railroading (there is one major departure from the way a real railroad would Do Things, but it's necessary for the film to work, and it *could* happen, i suppose), some incredible cinematography, and generally perfect design and execution of sets and costume, and you have got one incredible film experience; a thrill ride you will NOT soon forget.((Knowing that Kurosawa wrote the original screenplay and had intended to make this film himself, i kept trying to guess whether Manny or Rankin would have been played by Toshira Mifune...))"
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 04/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"RUNAWAY TRAIN is one of the rare good movies produced by the Laurel & Hardy of Hollywood production : Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. An original story of japanese director Akira Kurosawa filmed by Andrei Kontchalovsky, RUNAWAY TRAIN, 14 years after its theatrical release, is still steaming.With a breath-taking rythm, Jon Voight, Eric Roberts and a Rebecca DeMornay in her prime brunette youth, the Alaskan landscapes that Kontchalovsky transforms in a Siberian goulag, this movie is one of the more brilliant cat and mouse films of the last decades. Terribly pessimistic movie also since Jon Voight and Eric Roberts will only taste an illusion of liberty. An almighty God, the informatician that controls the railtracks, is leading the runaway train in any direction he wants. The shadow of Akira Kurosawa can be recognized behind this idea of men believing to be free while the Fate has already marked the end of the journey.The last scene of RUNAWAY TRAIN is a lyrical masterpiece worthy to be compared to the most visionary works of german director Werner Herzog or to the silent films of King Vidor. A haunting vision.Superb audio and video transfers. Attractive menu and a theatrical trailer.A frozen DVD."
Classic Kurosawa Existentialism
Jeremiah J Timmins | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Runaway Train" is a powerhouse of action and philosophy that grabs the veiwer and never lets go -- even after the film's over. John Voigt stars as "Manney," a hardened criminal who responds to his warden's threats with the classic line "You do what you have to do, and I do what I have to do, and we'll just see what happens." During a fateful escape from an Alaskan maximum security prison, Manney and a neophyte convict end up on a runaway train barrelling through the tundra at over 80 mph. As the plot develops, you realize this is a deeper movie than your average disaster flick. The ugly, frozen, unstoppable locomotive is an allegory for life, and the Runaway Train is actually Manny. He storms along, a furious juggernaught who escapes our prison of culture and comfort, and appears like a crazy man because he's able to face the ugly facts of life, and fights convention instead of accepting it. As the characters race on, Manny delivers salvation to those who don't deserve the punishment of reality, and force-feeds it to the man who does. An awesome movie that makes you think about your existence and how you accept it.-- Taibunsuu"
Speeding through a winter wonderland
wdanthemanw | 11/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film, based on the simple plot of two escaped convicts (JON VOIGHT and ERIC ROBERTS) jumping a train that is just four diesel locomotives coupled together which then speeds out of control through Alaska is very chilling...and very dark. From it's opening credits to the climax ending this film will keep you on the edge of your seats. It will also appeal to the intellectuals out there as Voight's character is very deep, who gives many speeches that reveal intriging aspects of the human soul. i.e:SARA: If you think you can sacrifice someone else's life instead of you own...you're an animal...MANNY: No worse, human, human...Its little moments like this that lift the film out of the realms of the common action-flick and into the annals of the cinematic greats.But it's not all phisosiphy, this is the best railroad film ever, (and i've seen a few; Death Train, Oh Mr Porter, The Cassandra crossing, Under Siege 2.)the attention to detail is extrodinary, with comments to the runaway locomotive's power settings, control systems etc.The shooting is supurb, with many grimy, grey images that complement the film's underlying theme. The acting is also of the highest order. Manny (VOIGHT) is very animalistic and wise in the ways of the world. Buck (ROBERTS) is incredably dull-witted and egoistic. Rankin (JOHN.P.RYAN), the prison warden is perhaps more animal than his captives. But perhaps the most stirring performance is delivered by... The train itself. During it's headlong caper it takes on a sinister evil feel (probably due to the fact that it gets constantly beaten up by the elements and collisions with other trains). It looks like the proverbial bat-out-of hell, scarred, dark, frozen over, and evil...It is both our heros gateway to freedom, and ticket to hell...In concluion this is a film for everyone, a must-see."
The Eternal Struggle of Man vs his Captor
Brian Callahan | Huntington, NY USA | 05/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this expecting a mindless 2 hours of action flick, and wondering how such a flick could get so many nominations for major awards. Wow was I blown away ! Everything about it was amazing - the acting by Roberts and Voight was superb, and the plot was powerful, to say the least. Add in great scenery and cinematography, and combine that with outrageous stunt work. What does it add up to? One FANTASTIC movie !"