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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Runaway [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Crichton, 1984)

 

 

   

  

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Tri-Star Pictures

Video: Koch Media

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:04.331

Disc Size: 24,445,796,216 bytes

Feature Size: 23,043,293,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.03 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 8th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio English 967 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 967 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1011 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1011 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, German, none

 

Extras:

• German Trailer (2:05)
• English Trailer (2:07)
• Gallery

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Best-selling author Michael Crichton wrote and directed this science fiction thriller that combined the influences of Blade Runner (1982), comic books, and Crichton's ongoing fascination with the dangers of high technology. Tom Selleck stars as Sergeant Jack Ramsey, a single father in the near future, when robots have largely replaced humans in performing menial labor. However, the robots occasionally malfunction, threatening human life and requiring a specialist like Jack, who terminates the haywire "runaways." Investigating a particularly nasty series of recent cases, Jack and his new partner Karen Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes) discover a connection between the runaways and Charles Luther (Kiss frontsman Gene Simmons). Luther, a maniacal genius, is masterminding a plot to create an army of killing machines. With time running out, it's up to Jack and Karen to match wits with Luther and save humanity.

 

 

The Film:

Mr. Crichton by now has the high- tech thriller genre all to himself, but his sovereignty doesn't seem very hotly contested. Even at its fanciest, the form has become somewhat old hat. ''Runaway'' doesn't stint on the gizmos, and its inventiveness in that respect is its best feature; it comes up with, among other things, foot-long metallic spiders with a deadly sting and heat-seeking bullets that can be programmed to track specific human targets. There are eyeball identification checks, and little gadgets that dart under cars in speeding traffic. Mr. Crichton is so clever with this sort of thing, in fact, that it's a wonder he can't make the human story more interesting.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

It's surprising, twenty-five years later, how well "Runaway" has aged. Not because it is anything close to prescient in its vision of the future, or because it is so well-executed technically that it stands ahead of its contemporaries. Instead, Michael Crichton's movie about cops chasing robots run amok holds up is because, despite its low-fi trappings, it manages to put together a world the audience can believe in.

Sgt. Jack Ramsay (Tom Selleck) is a Chicago Police Department officer assigned to handling robots. It's not glamorous work, more like animal control than anything else, but he's gotten to be the best in the department at it. He and new partner Karen Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes) are called in to deal with a malfunctioning domestic robot, and an extra chip inside leads them to Dr. Charles Luther (Gene Simmons) and Jackie Rogers (Kirstie Alley), who may have the answers behind a rash of robot-related incidents.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic  located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Runaway arrives on Blu-ray from Koch Media in Germany.  The 1080P image quality is not spectacular but advances upon SD. Mid 80's stock never seems to hold up well over time and this looks a shade overcast with only glimpses of crispness and occasional depth. The film's modest effects show some transparency in the higher resolution. It seems fairly consistent - perhaps contrast is not at premium levels and colors are a bit dull. This Blu-ray isn't top-shelf but it has more to do with the film limitations than the transfer. It's single-layered with a reasonable bitrate.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Koch give the option for a DTS-HD Master  927 kbps (16-bit) 2.0 channel in original English or a similarly transferred German DUB. It sounds alright but not exceedingly dynamic. The great Jerry Goldsmith (Seconds, Hoosiers, The Blue Max, Breakheart Pass) composed a score that adds to the film's positives. There is some perceived buoyancy and the music is a definite mood enhancer although no where near his best work.  There are optional English (sample above) and German subtitles my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Only some trailers and a photo gallery. The film probably isn't of the caliber to have any extensive discussion although it does have a cult-ie appeal - and perhaps deserved something shy of a commentary.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Runaway has this indefinable appeal. It's neither a great film, nor an outstanding Blu-ray. It is still a oddly pleasing film experience - with its flaws. Selleck and Gene Simmons are good choices but there is some detail missing that less-discerning viewers won't focus on. Like most of Crichton films - great concept but his directorial efforts don't always meet the expectation of the impressive concepts. I admit to enjoying Runaway but its most recommendable attribute may be the low price. Meh. 

Gary Tooze

May 3rd, 2016

 

   

  


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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