Varese Sarabande Club
24 Tracks/Disc Time: 44:08
In the early 80's, futuristic thrillers were starting to appear regularly on the big screen starting with the revolutionary way, way ahead of its' time sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" starring Harrison Ford that started to feature even more advanced production designs as the screenplays became more elaborate and really depended on these as well as Special Effects to propel the story even further. Now enter former med school dropout and famous author Michael Crichton, whose best selling books included the captivating "The Andromeda Strain", "The First Great Train Robbery", "Westworld", "Sphere", "Eaters Of The Dead", "Disclosure", "Jurassic Park" and many more along with becoming a solid writer/director in his own way with the thrillers "Coma", "Looker" and the lighthearted fun of "The Great Train Robbery" adapting his own book to the big screen. Crichton's own med school knowledge would pay off in the long running hit NBC series "ER" that made a star out of George Clooney amongst many others. Before all that however, "Runaway" would be the final science fiction project that Crichton personally would be involved in. The film stars Tom Selleck ("Blue Bloods, "Las Vegas", "Magnum P.I." as Sgt. Jack Ramsey who's apart of a special unit of the police called the "Runaway" squad that deals with domestic robots that have gone haywire or malfunctioned for some reason. Aided by his new partner (Cynthia Rhodes, "Staying Alive"), Jack starts to uncover a conspiracy where simple home aid robots are being used to murder people which leads him to a very sinister stone faced viliiain Charles Luther (Gene Simmons, KISS) who kills his partners with a rocket propelled explosive bullets while searching for an invaluable set of templates that can reproduce the microchip that is causing the malfunctions. Playing a techno game of cat and mouse, Jack has to figure out a way to stop him before his family and friends on the force are in serious trouble from this madman.
The film didn't fare as well at the box office in a very crowded Christmas slate in 1984, but has garnered a well deserved new life on numerous cable airings as well as home video by Sony. It's one of my personal favorites that is alot of fun eventhough the special effects aren't what they were capable of today. A major important piece to this puzzle of making the movie work was the amazing work of Academy Award Winner Jerry Goldsmith, who had already established a great collaboration with Michael Crichton for the films "Pursuit", "The Great Train Robbery", and "Coma" as well as films based on his works such as "Congo" and "The 13th Warrior" ("Eaters Of The Dead" in which Crichton himself took over the film from director John McTiernan). For this film, Goldsmith eliminated the use of a traditional orchestra (despite the fact that the score was completely orchestrated for one) and decided to go completely electronic for this futuristic effort.
The results turn out to be one of Goldsmith's more propulsive and unique as one of his original full blooded orchestrial scores. It is pulsing with energy and excitement that also features Goldsmith's trademark suspense that makes scores in this style that much better. From the on set, the moody synthesizers establish a dark brooding mood in "Main Titles" that establishes two principal themes one for Gene Simmons' vicious criminal and a heroic light anthem sound for Tom Selleck's heroic cop. Goldsmith would shift these moods back and fourth in a musical tug of war in "Psychic Reading", "The Tap", "Sushi Switch" and "Over The Edge". However, the most exciting aspect of this score is definitely the propulsive action cues that really do set the tone for the film that drive the film way above a B-movie starting with "Alley Flight" which sets the stage for the propulsive action that drives both "Shootin' Up The Ritz" and "Lockons", two tracks inspired by Goldsmith's muscular action sound of that time period that has made his early 80's scores favorites of many. Goldsmith creates a futuristic errie sound that he would incorporate in later scores that would feature this sound in "Warlock", "Leviathan", "Link", "Criminal Law" and his unused music for "Alien Nation" with the tracks "Crazed Robot", "Spider In The Toilet", "The Spider"
"Construction Site" and also creates some dramatic tension in "The Bullet" in a pivital scene in the film. "The Resolution" ends with a upbeat anthem of the main them that gives you a sense of relief after all the tension and then reprises the main themes of the score.
Varese's Encore release of this score marks the third time that the label has issued it. First, early on during first days of CD which the score fully utilized the technology of the time with a great presentation of the score and went out of print soon after that made it a highly sought after collectable. Then eight years ago, the label expanded the original album presentation and it immediately sold out and now eight years after its' immediate sell out, the score makes a great return for those who missed out on it. It's not one of Goldsmith's greatest achievements, but it's a terrific one that really stands out for what it is: a lean, rhythmic action score that does what it's supposed to do and that's be exciting! Strong thumbs up!