Thursday, September 16, 2010

Runaway Train (1985)

Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a train with no brakes and nobody driving. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Actor: Jon Voight
Best Supporting Actor: Eric Roberts
Best Editing

I had actually seen the first 20-30 minutes of Runaway Train a couple of years ago on tv and I was surprised back then to see that it received Oscar nominations for acting, as none of the 2 male leads impressed me in those 20 minutes. Now, I've mostly changed my mind. And the film itself was very enjoyable and quite entertaining and I feel it's a forgotten, maybe underrated film of the 80s.
The stunt work is incredible and the technical part works fine. The screenplay is far from perfect, but the direction is quite courageous and good for the material. Jon Voight delivers a very loud performance that worked perfectly for me. As I was not crazy for William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman) and don't understand the noms for Nicholson and Garner, I dare to say Jon Voight might've deserved an Oscar win for Best Actor. At the other end, Eric Roberts' performance looked ridiculous to me for 90% of the film and it didn't seem natural. He has some excellent 3 minutes, but other than that it's pure bad.
My rating for the film: 8/10. I was tempted to give more, as I am still a bit under the influence of the terrific ending.


  1. I'm afraid I'm not a fan of either performance in this film, both Jon and Eric going far too hitrionic and shouty for me.

    That said the film goes along as excitingly as a film about a runaway train should. I wonder how the forthcoming Unstoppable with Denzel will compare to this.

  2. I am hardly motivated by recent action film, unless it's a science fiction. Denzel needs to stop thinking about the salary and do some good shit again.

    other than that, I still believe that Jon Voight is very good and he's really commited to the character.