Arrow video continue their excellent run of quality releases with this action/thriller Runaway Train starring Jon Voight and Eric Roberts. Manny(Voight) is known as the toughest convict in a remote Alaskan prison who, along with fellow inmate Buck (Roberts), makes a daring breakout. Getting a ride on a freight train, they head full steam for freedom, but when the engineer dies of a heart attack, they find themselves trapped, alone and speeding towards certain disaster.
The movie was made by Cannon Films who were mostly known at the time for low budget action films starring the likes of Chuck Norris but here they go a notch above the usual output and with the help of director Andrei Konchalovsky made a fantastic character piece with probably the best performances of both lead actor’s careers. Both of them were nominated for Academy Awards but missed out and some say the fact that Cannon was involved may have swayed the decision.
The film has a great atmosphere and some great action, it does not skimp on the violent nature of the two main characters, but both actors make them so much more than two-dimensional thugs. By the way, the film was based on a script by the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Jon Voight as mentioned is superb as Manny and for this alone is worth a viewing.
The Blu ray by Arrow is another sterling effort. The remastered 1080p picture is free from scratches or blemishes and contrast levels are very stable. Grain is present colours are good if subdued due to the cinematographer’s wishes and overall the picture is very good. Audio is English LPCM 2.0 and is clear, solid and gives a great audio experience. The music score by Simon Boswell gives the film a very atmospheric touch.
Extras as always with arrow are plentiful. Most are interviews, the first is a great talk with Jon Voight about his reluctance at first to do the film, and how he and the director changed certain aspects to make the characters more real. An excellent interview.
Director Andrei Konchalovsky talks about the production history of Runaway Train, about his relationship with The Cannon Group and with Jon Voight who helped him come to America, lots of interesting facts emerge such as Jodie Foster’s desire to play the character eventually played by Rebecca De Mornay. In the other interviews, Eric Roberts talks about receiving the script, how he changed the way the role was to be played and what it was like working with Jon Voight and the director.
Actor Kyle T. Heffner discusses his contribution to the character he plays in the film. Finally 2 trailers, the theatrical and the one with an audio commentary by director Rod Lurie from Trailers From Hell website. Included is also a nice illustrated booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Michael Brooke, a new interview with Runaway Train‘s production designer Stephen Marsh as well as the original Life Magazine article that inspired the film, illustrated with rare behind-the-scenes production images.
A very good remastered image for this Blu Ray release with some good extras. Recommended.
FILM: 7 OUT OF 10
PICTURE: 7 OUT OF 10
AUDIO: 6 OUT OF 10
EXTRAS: 6.5 OUT OF 10