I’ll be the first to admit I like the work of Tom Selleck. Having said that I’ll also point out that when he was on Magnum and one of TV’s biggest stars I could have cared less. It wasn’t my thing growing up. Then came the narrow miss with the Indiana Jones character. Moving on he made this half baked sci-fi effort that until now I had never seen.


Back to Tom. One of the main reasons he grew on me over the years is his taking the time to repeatedly appear in westerns made for cable TV. In a day and age when the western has all but disappeared he and others like Sam Elliott seemed to go out of their way to continually act in them which earned my respect. I also find his role in the continuing series of Jesse Stone flicks quite enjoyable.

Sadly the same can’t be said of this Michael Crichton film.  I found it rather lame and poorly done thanks to some amateurish F/X and a script that wasn’t all that enticing or fleshed out.

selleck in runaway

Tom plays a Police Sergeant with a bad case of Jimmy Stewart styled vertigo. His job on the force is to take care of runaway robots that are in every day use both in homes and at the workplace. There in lies one of my beefs with the film. It’s meant to be a futuristic idea but it seems to take place in our modern era.

Soon Tom is going to tangle with a maniac who is changing the computer chips and causing many everyday robots to turn on their masters. Our nutcase is played by KISS star Gene Simmons. It’s a one note performance from the musician but he offers the right look on screen as a villain as he did in his next outing opposite Rutger Hauer in Wanted : Dead or Alive which features a fantastic over the top ending if you haven’ seen it.

Attractive Cynthia Rhodes plays both Tom’s partner and his soon to be love interest. Luckily for her Tom is a widow with a young son who thinks she’s just what his father needs. Also turning up in a rather thankless role is Kirstie Alley. She’s sporting that 80’s big hair look in the film that just might have been her penance for supposedly demanding to much money to appear in Star Trek III.

RUNAWAY,  Kirstie Alley, 1984

Tom and Gene are headed to a final showdown and if you noticed the word vertigo above then you can bet it’s going to take place far above solid ground.

selleck lobby card

Looking at this film today one wonders if Tom was trying to find his way after losing out on Indiana and grasping on to a seemingly good idea and a notable director/writer in Crichton. Honestly I wish I liked it better but it was just too cartoonish at times and the robots and other F/X were just too much of a turn off.

Fans of the long running Police Academy series will be sure to notice character player G.W. Bailey turning up as Tom’s commanding officer. In cliche fashion the two are continually bickering over police procedures and what not to say in front of the news cameras that laughingly find themselves in Tom’s way at times.

runaway with GW bailey

On the trivia side I do remember when this film came out and if I recall correctly it was with little fanfare. The poster featured Tom holding a large futuristic gun that he never once uses in the film. It’s actually wielded throughout by baddie Gene Simmons.


For Selleck fans, Simmons and the Kiss cult or those who follow the work of Crichton. For the rest you may find it a waste of time and effort.