Runaway Train - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Runaway Train Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2012
A solid but conventional action thriller like many others made in the 1980s, oscillating unevenly between efficient moments and scenes that simply do not work - and even if relying on a lot of coincidences and with a ridiculous villain, it offers great performances from Voight and Roberts.
Super Reviewer
½ July 21, 2008
The underrated John Voight crafts another stellar, intense, chamaleonic performance. Great and defiant thriller that keeps its best cards for the end, an instant that holds an overwhelming sense of beauty, one final act of honor and acceptance of the seemingly unavoidable fate, for is better to embrace death with honor than to rot like an animal in confinement.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2007
Jon Voight is a dangerous convict who escapes from an Alaskan prison and hijacks a train. It's quite suspenseful and tragic.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2007
A highly regarded prison escape movie set in the frozen north that is far too steeped in melodrama to be believable, although Jon Voight turns in a typically intense performance through to the pretentious and highly anti-climactic ending.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2007
Wrenchingly intense and brutally powerful, director Andrei Konchalovsky's film rates as a most exciting action epic and is fundamentally serious enough to work strongly on numerous levels.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2014
Konchalovsky gets more credit than he likely deserves for the existential nature of this relatively straight up action adventure. It's not a bad film, just not as great as it has often been portrayed.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2010
This was exciting. Roberts' character got on my nerves after awhile, and De Mornay was pretty irritating, but Voight was very convincing in his role. I didn't really like the ending, but otherwise, it was a pretty good movie.
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2007
Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa.
February 13, 2015
I'm glad I revisited this film after so many years, because I liked it a lot more this time around. Some clumsy dialogue and credulity-straining plot points hamper the overall impact, but it remains a rare example of an intelligent action film from the 1980s; it even has a strongly philosophical bent. The performances are brilliant but thoroughly offbeat. More than once the film becomes humorous (but I'm reasonably certain this is intentional). The atmosphere of breakneck fatalism is harrowing and exhilarating, as maniac Jon Voight and his hotheaded young companion (Eric Roberts) break out of the high-security prison presided over by a constantly-grinning fascistic warden (John P. Ryan, in an impressively unhinged turn). After trudging across miles of harsh snow-covered Alaskan wilderness they make the ill-advised decision to hop a train; as fate would have it, the conductor of said train suddenly keels over from a heart attack, leaving the two convicts and a young, inexperienced female engineer (Rebecca De Mornay) on board, hurtling ever faster toward a collision. Meanwhile Ryan gives chase, giving ample proof that he's every bit as crazy and dangerous as the nihilistic Voight. This film is completely insane, but also intelligent. It balances conventional action-movie thrills with a valid inquiry into the human condition, offering more questions than answers (as a mature work of art should). While its flaws keep it from achieving true greatness, there are moments of genius to be found here, most of them having to do with the preternaturally weird performances and the film's breathtaking visual style. The central metaphor of the train speeding at a deadly pace through a frozen wasteland is realized in some of the most impressive and exciting film set pieces of the 80s. The screenplay was based on an abandoned script by Akira Kurosawa.
September 12, 2014
The cast is of my favorite 80s action adventure and that's saying something when every other movie made in the 80s seemed from that genre.
September 2, 2013
2 career criminals escape an Alaskan maximum security prison only to end up on an out-of-control train with no engineer and no way to stop it. Sharp performances by Voight and Roberts, and enough subtext for a college English thesis.
May 2, 2013
Eric Roberts has made an entire career out of going full retard - watching this guy is pure torture, in just about every case, and in 'Runaway Train,' he goes beyond his usual act. He's intolerable on every level.
½ February 22, 2012
There are some train sized problems with this movie including a whiney Rebecca De Mornay but Jon Voight brings this movie a certain stately-ness.
½ January 28, 2012
Although it comes off as slightly uneven, Runaway Train is nevertheless a solid, well-made thriller that plays with slick style, worthwhile thrills, and great performances from Eric Roberts and Jon Voight.
December 17, 2011
The train stuff is surprisingly gripping and when things start rolling its a hell of a ride. Every scene with John P. Ryan as the Warden/Stuntman are absolutely terrible, his acting, the character, the situations they put him, horrible! Eric Roberts like usual is going for it every scene, some break your heart, some make you laugh, i love him so piss off. Very entertaining film, some scenes ring false but i liked these characters and surprisingly cared about what happened to them.
May 15, 2011
After watching the typical Hollywood puke ‚Unstoppable‚? with my wife I decided to revisit one of my all time favorite films with a similar plot entitled ‚Runaway Train‚?. Unlike ‚~that other film‚(TM) ‚Runaway Train‚? has artistic merit within its thinly disguised disaster plot. It‚(TM)s cold, grim, depressing and superb‚¶ all ingredients for a film to be a critical success and at the same time a huge box office bomb.

‚Runaway Train‚? at its heart is a peculiar amalgamation of talented filmmakers from all around the world. First we have award winning Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) penning the script brought to life by Russian visionary director Andrey Konchalovskiy. All this is financed by Israeli B-movie moguls Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus under their Cannon films logo. How the hell did this multi-national triumvirate come together and not be a disaster? I‚(TM)m not sure but did it ever turn out grand!

The plot at first glance looks simple‚¶ it‚(TM)s about two prisoners that escape an Alaskan Maximum Security prison and hitch a ride on a train to freedom. The problem is the engineer has a heart attack leaving the train careening out of control.

Sounds like a typical disaster film doesn‚(TM)t it? No it isn‚(TM)t. This is anything but a disaster film. This is a grand character study drama draped over by its disaster plot. Instead of focusing of the problem at hand, the film focuses on it‚(TM)s extremely flawed characters who are cast perfectly.

Our two escaped prisoners are portrayed by Jon Voight and Eric Roberts‚¶. Both superb. Manny (Voight) is a wild eyed, dark hearted soul that is deeply respected by his fellow inmates. I won‚(TM)t lie as his character is unlikeable but Voight‚(TM)s intense performance draws you into this deeply flawed character‚(TM)s world. If his ramblings don‚(TM)t get the viewer on the edge of their seat then the viewer doesn‚(TM)t respect good acting. Voight‚(TM)s unforgettable portrayal earned him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination, an award he should have won.

Roberts is also fantastic as the dim-witted boxer that follows behind Voight like an annoying puppy dog. His performance here proves that he is one of the most underrated actors of all time‚¶ no I really mean it. He is absolutely fantastic and his performance also earned him a Golden Globe nomination. To top it off the supporting cast also really shines, headed by Rebecca De Mornay as a railroad worker trapped on the train with the inmates and John P. Ryan as the sadistic warden willing to do anything to capture his inmates. The train itself even takes on a character persona, even a face after it crashes into a caboose of another train. One can‚(TM)t help but get goosebumps as it charges head-on, growling like a ferocious beast into boarded up train tunnels along an abandoned track for derailment.

Since the location of the film takes place up in the cold, grim Northern region, the producers must have asked themselves who would know cold and grim the best. The answer is of course a Russian hence Andrey Konchalovskiy was the picture perfect choice as he captures the cold and loneliness of the snow-covered wasteland wonderfully, really adding up to the brooding atmosphere of the film. He also is able to marvelously intercut our two parallel plot lines of our victims on the train as well as the people at headquarters trying to help them by balancing out the drama, action and suspense to near perfection.

I don‚(TM)t give very many films the honor of having 5 stars but ‚Runaway Train‚? deserves every damn one. There isn‚(TM)t an aspect of this film I can rag on. The visionary directing, the moving performances, the atmospherically grim landscape, the deep underlying meanings on humanity, the emotional score and the picture perfect ending makes this a depressing albeit a rewarding film experience. Strip this film of all that praise and you‚(TM)re left with ‚Unstoppable‚?. ‚Runaway Train‚? has always been and always will be one of my all time favorite films and it‚(TM)s due time this criminally underrated gem deserves to be dug up and repolished.
½ January 4, 2011
A basic prison break actioner is what I expected... and more or less, that is what I got. Throw in a train, arctic temperature, ticked off warden and you get what you get. I like Eric Roberts, he is perhaps the best feature of the film. I feel he got a carryover Oscar nomination from his previous (and superior) performance in The Pope of Greenwich Village. Train gives Roberts some new material and ways to express himself. I like the preppy boxer attitude he carries. While I like Voight a bit more here than usual- even though he is one dimensional and lugs about. Roberts wit and charm carry the isolation very well and gives me enough to stay on track. Overall mediocre, it had some decent performances yet I still can't get over the fact that there was no real closure or heavy finale after all the momentum, the build up, and muscle flexing. (C)
November 26, 2010
i went in with high expectations, as this is considered an action classic and was nominated for oscars, and while i think it has a great premise and grungy dirty look, i couldnt stand the main 2 leads, they talked in this weird way, that was maybe east coast accent or maybe just "tough guy" talk, but it came off as overacting and annoying, there were also several decisions made by characters that didnt make any sense or werent explained, and the character of the main girl was unnecesary and under developed, i wont deny it looks good and had potential, but overall a big letdown
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