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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece remastered
This movie may be a bit difficult to get into -- the first part of the movie seems a dreary prison story, and the characters are almost stereotypical, seemingly. It is due to the acting of Eric Roberts and Jon Voigt that one can get through this part. Then, when they manage to hop a train, things get rolling, literally. The 2nd, and main, act of the movie involves the...
Published 17 months ago by orvuus

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Violent exciting thriller
Anyone a fan of Tony Scott's thriller Unstoppable will see some of inspiration here.

This 1980's action thriller, delivers on both counts of thrills and tight well filmed action scenes.

Two escaped convicts (Jon Voight and Eric Roberts) jump aboard a runaway train, and there rough and tough characters are put to the test, as they have to eventualluy...
Published 20 months ago by chelios1981


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece remastered, 29 Sept. 2013
By 
orvuus (Birmingham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Runaway Train [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This movie may be a bit difficult to get into -- the first part of the movie seems a dreary prison story, and the characters are almost stereotypical, seemingly. It is due to the acting of Eric Roberts and Jon Voigt that one can get through this part. Then, when they manage to hop a train, things get rolling, literally. The 2nd, and main, act of the movie involves the drama inside and outside the train, and this is skillfully done, so that we stay intrigued in these characters. The final act, in my mind, is the final ride of the train, which raises existential questions about freedom and self worth. Make sure to keep the volume up loud, as the music here becomes an actor in its own right -- the movie ends beautifully with the music rising up to its full height.

I first watched this on TV, and even then it was effective. Frustratingly it has never been remastered properly in the U.S. One of the reasons I bought a region-free blu ray player is to watch this and other movies from Arrow -- they have produced a beautifully remastered blu ray: the video makes the movie spring to life (even in the previously murky looking prison scenes) and the audio is outstoundingly clear and powerful. As usual with Arrow, there are also interesting and plentiful extras.

You must see this! Then you will understand why this film has so many quotable lines, even though they sound illiterate in plain text, such as when Eric Roberts' character states, "I thought you was my friend" and "You was a hero," spoken in a mournful voice. A young Rebecca Demornay also does an excellent job as a terrified yet sensible railroad employee. Thank you, Arrow!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LAST TRAIN FOR OBLIVION - BOARD NOW!, 8 July 2008
By 
David Wright - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Runaway Train [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
Hard to believe this movie is over 20 years old - I remember seeing it when it was first released and then, as now, was minded that there has never been any other "out of control train" film quite like this one.You actually feel that you are on this metal monster as it powers on through the Alaskan wilderness. Jon Voight gives a great performance and is ably supported by Eric Roberts, who although a little 'hammy', settles in as the plot moves on. The other actors all play their parts well, particularly the hardened prison warden, Rankin (though he does look a bit like Dick Dastardly in the final scenes!). All in all an extremely well made film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and sometimes harrowing, but utterly haunting, 7 Feb. 2007
By 
Black Tent "zareeba" (Stockton-on-Tees, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Runaway Train [DVD] (DVD)
Based on a screenplay originally by Akira Kurosawa and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, this is a harrowing yet strangely moving film. At first sight it's uncompromisingly grim, as it depicts the violence and hopelessness endemic in the prison from which dangerous convict Oscar `Manny' Manheim (Jon Voight) and his not-so-dangerous (in fact rather dumb) fellow convict Buck (Eric Roberts) escape into the snowy wilderness of Alaska. They stow away on board a goods train at a remote station, but as it pulls out of the station the driver has a heart attack and falls from the cabin. The train becomes a runaway which cannot be stopped by the usual process because the automated brakes have failed. It barrels on through the bleak Alaskan landscape, and the only way it can be stopped is for the railway dispatchers to divert and deliberately derail it. But they don't realise that there are people aboard - not just Manny and Buck but railway worker Sara (Rebecca de Mornay)...

Jon Voight gives a superb performance as Manny, hard and dangerous, yet with a kind of morality at his core that is lacking in the sadistic warden, Rankin, who pursues Manny relentlessly, risking - and eventually forfeiting - his own life in the process. One of the film's most memorable scenes is where Manny tries to persuade Buck not to waste his life in criminal activities, but to get a job - even the most menial of jobs - and do it to the best of his ability. Buck asks Manny if he could do that and Manny says quietly, with sadness and a hint of despair, `I wish I could.'

The ending of the film is utterly haunting, as Manny, having saved Buck and Sara by uncoupling the engine (getting his hand crushed in the process) from their car, climbs onto the roof of the engine and stands there, facing his inevitable death as the train thunders on through the Alaskan wastes to its eventual destruction. Knowing that he can never live in ordinary society, he prefers to die rather than be recaptured and imprisoned again. We see his figure, upright on the roof of the train, receding into the distance and becoming absorbed into the falling snow, while the screen shows the lines from Shakespeare's Richard III: `No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore I am no beast'.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A violent, stunning, thriller of a prison breakout movie, 18 Jun. 2002
This review is from: Runaway Train [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The story of a breakout from a prison in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of winter, which then involves a train is not necessarily the first film most people would choose to go and see.
However, throw in Jon Voigt as the mad "not going back" violent psychopath lifer, Eric Roberts as the dumb kid you fell in with the wrong sort of people and Rebecca De Mornay as the love interest, looking very plain (but you can never hide those eyes) and you have a very well acted film.
Then, add a dash of a train without a driver, a train which is going at full tilt, and then, may be add a mad prison guard hell bent on retrieving his charges and you have a movie that will take you on a train journey unlike any put onto celluloid before.
This is not an action movie, more a movie with a brain, great acting, great suspense, great thrills, and an ending that you should just see.
Movies are meant to change your view on the world, take you to a new place. This does all of that and more.
Treat yourself to this masterpiece, you deserve it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Runaway Train, 25 Dec. 2008
By 
Mr. N. R. Paterson (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Runaway Train [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film as a young boy in the late 80's and didn't see it again for over ten years, i never forgot the film and it fascinates me even now it is a true film legend that always needs to be seen. Jon Voigt pulled of the most amazing acting i have ever seen, Will always be my number 1 film. Runaway Train
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie, 26 Feb. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Runaway Train [DVD] (DVD)
This is really a great movie, somewhat stylized in places, but in general a terrific metaphoric ride. The rendition of the main two characters (the convicts) is full of pathos, truth and sentimentality. Yes, these guys are hard nuts, but in essence we are witnessing what amounts to a Greek tradedy unfold here. The climatic relentless elements verses man and man verses man is terrifically paced, and hovering around presides the the notion of technology as a means of lifting these burdens from the sholders of men is proved fruitless in the ultimate test and challenge, which is really a battle of spirits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Violent exciting thriller, 26 Jun. 2013
By 
chelios1981 (Glos, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Runaway Train [DVD] (DVD)
Anyone a fan of Tony Scott's thriller Unstoppable will see some of inspiration here.

This 1980's action thriller, delivers on both counts of thrills and tight well filmed action scenes.

Two escaped convicts (Jon Voight and Eric Roberts) jump aboard a runaway train, and there rough and tough characters are put to the test, as they have to eventualluy become heroes and take command of the situation.

Robert's plays the slightly unintelligent and impressionable convict with real emotion, whilst Voight tears up the scenery as a world weary criminal, making his tough but flawed character believable (although anyone who has seen his performance in Anaconda will see similar over acting in certain scenes ).

Rebbeca De Mornay as a train worker stuck on board with the two anti heroes is clearly the rational person and the one to bring balance to the macho posturing of the other two leads.

The real triumph here is the fact the film moves at a cracking pace, with not much action, but when the stunts come they are brutal and realistic.

Overall this is a slightly dated, but thrilling straight forward thriller, that holds up against modern films purely based on the fact that it is so well made, and has a brilliant ending that really is memorable.

Far fetched, yes, dated, yes, but classic film making and it puts a lot of modern thrillers to shame, using a simple story and not having to rely on silly effects, just simple plot and character development.

Well worth a watch.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trained!, 19 Nov. 2008
By 
This review is from: Runaway Train [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
Based on an Akira Kurasawa story, this 1985 film is ostensibly an action flick, but it's much more rewarding than your average Stallone or Scharzenegger film of the same period. John Voight excels himself (he was nominated for an Oscar for this performance) as Manny, a prisoner so dangerous he is welded into his cell. When the warden is forced to release him into the prison, Manny duly escapes along with Buck (played by Eric Roberts, brother to Julia), a prison boxer who tags along for the ride. They escape into the Alaskan wilderness and make their way onto a train which unknown to them, is out of conrol.

The imagery of the frozen Alaskan wilderness is excellently captured, as is the sheer brute power and force of the runaway train itself, which is practically a character to itself in the film. The exisential subtext of the film is fairly obvious (Manny being a pure, isolated individual bulleting headlong towards his destiny) but it's not obtrusive - you can enjoy this film simply for the action. There are some brutal setpieces - none of the one-punch-fall-down fighting of other 80s action films - and the acting is superb, especially by Voight (who spent time with real criminals to get Manny's character down, and remained in touch with them for years afterwards), and John Ryan, who plays the warden with soft-padded malevolence. The ending too is unforgettable, a fitting end to one of the finest films of the 1980s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies of the 80's, 18 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Runaway Train [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
Great performances from John Voight, Eric Roberts and John P Ryan. Great scenery, a simple but powerful story, and a stunning finale. This film really is superb. I don't know if you really end up rooting for the convicts-it's not "Vanishing Point"; however, you very quickly start caring what happens to them. But my word, it's hard edged, and while I normally don't want to hear swearing, it's probably the only way for this. Might even get a 15 cert today.

It makes one wonder if filmmaking skills haven't been forgotten in so many cases. Take the dreadful "Avengers Assemble"; a pretty good cast, lots of them, huge budget, Whizz ! Bang ! Something going on almost every second in every square inch of the screen. Yet, it's tedious crap-from a chap who has given us works of genius as well. And yes, a completely different sort of film, but what compares with this today ? "Life of Pi"- definitely a great of today. Maybe the insufferably tedious and woefully inaccurate "The Hurt Locker" is a better comparison, or would be had it been a decent movie, actually not fit to be burnt to light the lobby of a cinema showing "Runaway Train".

Then take this, much of it just two guys on a train, wondering what the hell's going on and whether they're going to die. With those few ingredients, you've got to do it right. It's simple, exciting and stunning.

You can understand the impact of Kurosawa's screenplay; a few good ingredients well put together- isn't that often the best recipe ?

A text-book example of great film-making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Win, lose, what's the difference?, 15 April 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Runaway Train [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
Based around a screenplay written by the legendary Akira Kurosawa, Runaway Train simultaneously follows three threads. The escape of two prisoners, Manny & Buck, who jump on a train only to find that the driver has a heart attack, thus it speeds out of control. Then there is the efforts of the train dispatching office to try and safely stop the out-of-control train. And also there's the hunt by the sadistic prison warden who is hellbent on recapturing the fleeing convicts.

Relentless and engrossing action film from start to finish, Runaway Train boasts two Oscar nominated performances from John Voight {Manny} and Eric Roberts {Buck} and no little intelligence with its well scripted characters. The opening quarter is pretty stock routine prison fare, these guys are tough, the warden is a bastard and we just know they are going to escape. But once the guys board the train the whole film shifts in gear and tone. The dynamic that exists between Manny & Buck, partners but very different in life approach, is riveting stuff courtesy of the nifty dialogue exchanges. Things are further enhanced by the appearance of Rebecca DeMornay's also stranded railway worker, Sara, who far from being a shoe-horned token female character, is the crucial piece of the emotional jigsaw. He presence gives the guys room to exorcise their demons and pour out their feelings of anger, bravado and mistrust.

The action scenes are very well handled by director Andrei Konchalovsky and his crew. As the train hurtles thru the snowy Alaskan wilderness we are treated to a number of crash bang wallops involving the train itself; derring-do from our boys on the icy outside of the locomotive, and a helicopter pursuit chartered by the obsessed John P. Ryan as Warden Ranken particularly stand out. Bona fide action sequences that are executed skilfully. Then we get to the finale, a finale pumped up for emotional impact, both visually and orally it closes the film justly. We even get time for a bit of Will Shakespeare as we go about reflecting on what we have just witnessed. A fine movie it be. 7.5/10
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Runaway Train [Blu-ray]
Runaway Train [Blu-ray] by Andrei Konchalovsky (Blu-ray - 2013)
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