Runaway Train (1985)
The story opens in familiar territory, but nevertheless depicts the daily life inside the walls of a maximum security prison in a highly – I presume – accurate and authentic fashion. I've seen more than enough prison dramas/thrillers in my life thus far, and the riot sequences and illustrated atmosphere here are definitely some of the most intense ever. Manny, the most notorious inmate and personal nemesis of head warden Ranken, is released from his isolation cell after three years and promptly thinks up a plan to escape. Manny, along with the lesser intelligent but devoted lightweight boxer Buck, escapes via the sewer system and flees into the snowy landscape. The duo boards a four-engine cargo train, but remains unaware that the machinist had a heart-attack and that the train carries forth its journey uncontrolled and with a constantly increasing speed. Only when joined by an equally powerless female mechanic, they realize they are trapped and their whereabouts are exposed to the authorities. I can't emphasize enough that every sub plot as well as any supportive character is utmost compelling and carefully elaborated. There's the inescapable train ride, naturally, but also the gloomy interactions between the trapped convicts, the rivalry inside the railway control center and the personal vendetta of head warden to demolish Manny.
No wonder that "Runaway Train" became one of the truly greatest action movies of the 1980's (and arguably of all times), since this production gathered great cinematic talent from three different continents! The original source material comes from a screenplay written by Akira Kurosawa (only one of the biggest geniuses in history), the director is the visionary Russian-born Andrey Konchalovskiy and finally the film neatly got re-processed and staffed with talented people from the USA. (IMDB Coventry)
|Jon Voight - Eric Roberts - Edward Bunker|
|Danny Trejo (L)|