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TOM SELLECK IN MICHAEL CRICHTON'S RUNAWAY

Tom Selleck is a police officer whose niche is to take down runaways: robots who stray from their jobs. These particular gizmos are killing people. The best scenes have Selleck's Ramsay, an intrepid cop whose only fear is heights, taking down several rogue machines: one in particular has killed off the family it works for, making a suspenseful scene as he moves on in. This is a scene straight out of your standard cop film or TV show, only there's a robot at the end of the tunnel.

Year: 1984 ***1/2
Ramsay and his new partner/sidekick, played by Cynthia Rhodes, wind up taking on the evil corporate genius played by iconic KISS bassist Gene Simmons: the man behind the sudden robotic lunacy. Simmons can act alright but looks so overly menacing, he might as well have VILLAIN painted on his forehead.

Despite those initially effective, intense moments, the intriguing sci-fi concept could have used more plot development early on, especially coming from writer/director Michael Crichton, master at making even the strangest concepts seem not only believable but ordinary. A shame we cut to the chase a bit too soon and are left with typical action fare.

Selleck, before his game-changing fame on television's MAGNUM P.I., had a string of cameo roles; one being COMA, also directed by Crichton. While not perfect, this is quite a promotion: The concept of a near-future where robots have taken over field-labor and house cleaning chores, all starting to violently break down, could have been intriguing if it didn't turn into a hostage-taking bad guy flick. Although, the spider looking robots are pretty cool though. CGI be damned!
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