Runaway Train Review
By Christopher Null
To say Runaway Train is wholly contrived would be an understatement, but this is one hell of a movie -- all despite a silly setup, a lousy name, the appearance of Eric Roberts (who earned an Oscar nomination), and a Russian director who has done nothing of note before or since. It's a prison break movie with a twist: 30 minutes after the beginning of the film, there's still no train despite the title... but then grizzly convict Jon Voight (also an Oscar nominee) and the dimwit weasel Roberts are away from their Alaskan prison and hop aboard a train, destined to escape the eye of the law. But the engineer promptly dies, falls off the engine, and sends the train into a full-throttle nightmare. Convicts end up teaming with a sleeping assistant (Rebecca De Mornay) to try to stop the train.
Totally ridiculous (and based on the work of Akira Kurosawa!) but very exciting. And this -- or so it seems -- is really shot on a speeding train. No miniatures. Tons of stunts. Insane.
The real treat is that this is an action movie with a brain. No Seagal and no Van Damme. Real actors (even Roberts proving he has raw talent). Real ice (you feel cold just watching it). Real fun.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 6th December 1985
Box Office Worldwide: $7.9M
Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Golan-Globus Productions, Northbrook Films, Cannon Group
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 4
Cast & Crew
Starring: Jon Voight as Oscar 'Manny' Manheim, Eric Roberts as Buck, Rebecca De Mornay as Sara, Kyle T. Heffner as Frank Barstow, John P. Ryan as Ranken, T. K. Carter as Dave Prince, Kenneth McMillan as Eddie MacDonald, Stacey Pickren as Ruby, Walter Wyatt as Conlan, Edward Bunker as Jonah, Reid Cruickshanks as Al Turner (as Reid Cruikshanks), Dan Wray as Fat Con, Michael Lee Gogin as Short Con, Joe Bob Briggs as Tall Con, Hank Worden as Old Con (as Norton E. 'Hank' Warden), John Otrin as Cat Con, Norman Alexander Gibbs as Queen Con, Dennis Ott as Guard, Don Pugsley as Guard, John Fountain as Guard, Wally Rose as Announcer, Danny Trejo as Boxer