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Logan's Run (1976)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2

audience

68

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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 43,969

My Rating

Movie Info

In a hermetically sealed post-apocalyptic urban environment several centuries hence, Logan 5 (Michael York) and his friend Francis 7 (Richard Jordan) lead unquestioning lives of hedonism. Entertainment comes in the form of casual sexual liaisons and gladiatorial games in which those who do not wish to undergo euthanasia at the age of 30 vie for the illusory chance of continued life. As "sandmen," Logan and Francis are charged with tracking down and killing "runners" -- those citizens who will

Sep 29, 1998

MGM

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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (9) | DVD (13)

A numbing combination of sloppy writing, vulgar art direction, high school acting, and bungled special effects.

June 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (2)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fundamentally, this is just further proof of Hollywood's untiring ability to reduce all science fiction to its most feeble stereotypes.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Harmless fun enlivened by a couple of sequences that are as good as the entire film should have been.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Logan's Run is a vast, silly extravaganza that delivers a certain amount of fun, once it stops taking itself seriously.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... I found myself reflecting that sf writers can get away with a lot on the printed page that moviemakers just can't.

March 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Despite its grabber of a premise, Logan's Run flaunts poorly developed plot specifics; as such, it's terminally silly. Nevertheless, as a camp curio, it still has an odd but undeniable staying power. [Blu-ray]

February 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Maybe its ambitions outpace its performance, but at least it tries.

November 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

It's a good story with a well-defined sense of jeopardy, and appropriate performances by York and Agutter, but my most major problem is that too much is unexplained.

July 10, 2008 Full Review Source: LYTRules.com
LYTRules.com

A hit-and-miss futuristic film about a world in which nobody is allowed to live past 30 years.

June 4, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Cautionary tale of a futuristic society bent on destroying all but its youngest citizens.

February 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Sci-Fi, Super 70s Style! I love it.

January 28, 2005 Full Review Source: StaciWilson.com
StaciWilson.com

Pre-Star Wars sci-fi; the events of the next year rendered it obsolete with record speed although there's a little more than usual here to enjoy.

March 9, 2004

In the future, it's gonna look a lot like the '70s.

October 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Logan's Run is not great filmmaking, but it's a nice sci-fi thriller with an interesting enough plot to keep it propelling along.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

If you can resist the urge to laugh, it's still a visually fascinating and provocatively entertaining film.

August 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Listen close enough and you might just hear Ed Wood's voice in the background clamoring with glee.

August 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Always wondered what a 'cult film' is? Try this one.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

It still remains a very interesting and entertaining piece of classic science fiction cinema.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Despite some dreary bits, Logan's Run isn't bad sci-fi and is an interesting exercise in what the future was thought to be like back in the 1970s.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Audience Reviews for Logan's Run

HaHa - I wonder how this one holds up?
April 3, 2007
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

Ever since Star Trek first arrived on our screens, it's been almost fashionable to dismiss science fiction as little more than enjoyable pantomime hogwash. Whatever interesting ideas the series tried to raise, more often than not the ideas would take a back seat to silly fighting, hammy acting and increasingly bizarre costumes. Coming a year before Star Wars rewrote the sci-fi rulebook, Logan's Run is a kindred spirit to the original Star Trek: campy, silly and utterly escapist, yet still passingly entertaining.

One of the initial disappointments of Logan's Run is how little of the original novel survives in the screenplay. The novel, written by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, used the counter-culture and youth movements of the mid-1960s as a platform for a story about eugenics and social engineering, predicting a society where the power of youth was so great that ageing beyond 21 was forbidden. But in the screenplay for Logan's Run, written by Straw Dogs scribe David Zelag Goodman, this fascinating premise is compressed into an old-fashioned action-adventure story, with most of the political undercurrents being taken out.

Logan's Run still has an interesting premise in spite of this - people can only live to 30 before they are elaborately executed - but in both its execution and its place within the sci-fi canon, it is much more old-fashioned than its source material. The film is directed by Michael Anderson, who had reached his peak in the 1950s with The Dambusters and the Oscar-winning Around the World in Eighty Days. He approaches Logan's Run in the same way as his classic work: as a star vehicle with a lot of locations and fun-packed action, and not much room for the darker, more political aspects of science fiction.

Logan's Run contains many references to other sci-fi works, some classic, some contemporary. The idea of a totalitarian society in which people live only for pleasure can be traced back to Brave New World, Aldous Huxley's extraordinary novel which predicted (amongst other things) anti-depressants, test tube babies, and interactive media with the 'feelies', where you could see, hear and touch what was happening on screen. The Carrousel scenes are like more elaborate versions of the funeral from Soylent Green, while the general camp tone nods towards Planet of the Apes and its sequels.

In light of Anderson's track record, the film to which Logan's Run most closely aspires is The Time Machine, directed by The War of the Worlds producer George Pal. The whole of Logan's Run is comparable to the final act of The Time Machine, in which a docile, hedonistic and ignorant society are held captive by evil forces - respectively morlocks and time itself. But in its overly frequent use of model shots and strange collection of weapons, Logan's Run is much less George Pal than Gerry Anderson. The wide shots of the domed city are closely reminiscent of Thunderbirds or Stingray, while the costumes are akin to Anderson's contemporary venture, Space: 1999.

Logan's Run is clearly a product of its time, particularly where sets and costumes are concerned. While the men get to wear full-length uniforms or jumpsuits, the women are paraded around in a series of dresses and skirts which leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. When we first meet Jenny Agutter, she doesn't appear to be wearing any underwear - something which is confirmed on no less than two separate occasions. Despite having a budget of $9m (around the same as Star Wars), the film looks like it was made on the cheap and in a hurry. Whole sections of the domed city look like the inside of a shopping mall (which it is), with seemingly little time being spent on set-dressing.

For most of its running time, Logan's Run is a very silly film. We quickly forget that Logan 5 is infiltrating the runners with the intention of finding and destroying Sanctuary - we forget, in other words, that he is a government puppet whose lifeclock has been artificially accelerated. After Logan initially defeats Francis, the plot descends into a series of set-pieces in increasingly elaborate sets until Peter Ustinov turns up to help us get a grip.

The tone of these set-pieces is generally light-hearted, with our heroes surviving seemingly implausible scenarios while managing to maintain their perfect hair and make-up. But in the midst of this frivolity there are little pockets of creepiness, such as their encounter with Box. He trundles into shot like a bargain basement Dalek and starts spouting off about plankton and sea greens, all of which seems completely harmless. But then he leads Logan and Jessica to a corridor of runners frozen in ice: Box implies that they are now being used for food, pulls out two guns and laughs wickedly. While still silly at heart, it's as though we had accidentally wandered into Soylent Green.

The silly, campy tone of Logan's Run is consolidated by the acting. Michael York manages to keep his dignity for the most part: his unique voice gives him an air of authority while keeping his more sensitive moments believable. Jenny Agutter makes the very best of a duff role: she spends a lot of her opening scenes wandering around open-mouthed in next to nothing, but she eventually gets into her stride. But aside from the leads the acting is very wooden, and while no-one comes close to the 'quality' of Charlton Heston or William Shatner, it's difficult not to snigger at how straight-laced everything is. The film lacks the knowing deftness of Flash Gordon, with only a small fraction of the cast being in on the joke.

But in spite of its copious flaws, Logan's Run eventually emerges as a passingly enjoyable slice of science fiction. The irony is that once we have given up trying to take it seriously, the film begins to get off the ground and say the things that it really wants to say. The later sections of the film, while still a little ridiculous, make up for the loose, baggy opening act and do raise a couple of interesting issues around the central theme.

A big part of this transition is down to Peter Ustinov. Gene Siskel, who once called this the worst film he'd ever seen, wrote that Ustinov's cameo was unduly extended because he was the only decent thing in the whole film. While few would share Siskel's view, his performance is by far and away the best, and his character is the most interesting. He plays a seemingly senile old man who is found by Logan and Jessica wandering around the ruined House of Representatives. The film never states exactly why he is still alive; perhaps, like J. F. Sebastian in Blade Runner, he was too old to leave the old ways behind.

Like Richard Burton, Peter Ustinov has immense screen presence. He is able to take the most ridiculous or stupid line, and deliver it in such a way that it gains great weight or feels deeply important. He might be rambling on about cats having three different names, but his mannerisms feel more developed than the other characters, and his dithering manner works as a means of reaction to Logan and Jessica, who have no concept of age or decay.

In its later sections, Logan's Run also takes on a Biblical quality, with undertones emerging in the attitude and development of the characters. Logan and Jessica's escape from the domed city is akin to the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden - although, in line with the conspiracy element of the film, Eden is too good to be true in the first place. The ending of the film is also rooted in the Old Testament, with Ustinov emerging like a nervous Moses, ready (unexpectedly) to lead his people out of Egypt.

The film is also prophetic in predicting the increased social role for cosmetic surgery. In an age where breast implants, tummy tucks and facelifts have become both cheap and fashionable, it isn't too far-fetched to believe that, in the near-future, you could change your entire appearance through just a few quick flicks of a laser. The fight between Logan and the doctor (played by Michael Anderson Jr.) is one of the better action scenes, taking the laser sequence in Goldfinger to its natural conclusion.

There is much about Logan's Run which would be good cause to dismiss it. Its production values have dated badly, the ideas are compromised by a generic adventure story, and both its plot and execution are preposterous. But it just about manages to pass muster in the end, being consistently entertaining and getting a grip on things in the final act. It succeeds where so many of the Star Trek movies failed, and while it never reaches the heights of Flash Gordon, it passes the time rather nicely.
September 10, 2011
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

I love this sci-fi movie, mostly because I'm a big fan of York's, but it's also one of the best strange psychedelic sci-fi 70s movies because the story is very clear, and very good. I highly recommend seeing this movie before they remake it.
January 3, 2011
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Logan's Run is set in a Dystopian future where life ends at 30 due to a malfunctioning robot. It's much cleverer than that sounds though, questioning governments, societies, morality and religion. Its only downfall is that it hasn't dated that well. It does have a certain kitsch chic about it though and it's content still stands bold against contemporary cinema - It's still far superior compared to it's loose remake, The Island.
November 3, 2010
SirPant

Super Reviewer

    1. Francis: When you question, it slows you down.
    – Submitted by Gary L (2 years ago)
    1. Old Man: The naming of cats is a difficult matter.
    – Submitted by Gary L (2 years ago)
    1. Jessica: I hate outside!
    – Submitted by Del S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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February 11, 2011:
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This was another busy week in Hollywood, with quite a bit of big news. Hollywood's ongoing...
June 17, 2010:
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Warner Bros.' long-in-development "Logan's Run" remake appears to be back on track, with Carl Rinsch...

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