Oscar “Manny” Manheim is a ruthless bank robber and hero to the convicts of Stonehaven. After two previous escape attempts the doors to Manny’s cell have been welded shut for three years. A court order see’s Manny released back into the general prison population, where he immediately sets his next escape plan into action.
Aided by fellow inmate Buck, who joins Manny’s break-out attempt at the last minute, the pair embark on a freezing cross-country hike (involving a 300 ft drop into a river and subsequent swim) until they reach a remote Alaskan rail yard and board a locomotive. Upon leaving the rail yard, the locomotive’s brakes fail and the driver has a fatal heart attack, sending one hundred tons of metal hurtling through the snowy Alaskan wastes at a terrifying and seemingly unstoppable speed.
Based on an original screenplay by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, Yojimbo) who turned down the opportunity to direct the film, Runaway Train was finally brought the screen by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky (Tango & Cash) and the final result was a runaway success with positive reviews and Academy Awards nominations for Best Actor (Jon Voight), Best Supporting Actor (Eric Roberts) and Editing.
Runaway Train still holds up today as a tense, gripping thriller and Jon Voight and Eric Roberts academy award nominations are justified in two powerful performances that give the film some impact.
Runaway Train was originally shot on 35mm and is presented on Blu-ray with a 1080/24p transfer using a MPEG4-AVC codec (36.80Mbps) that preserves the 1.85:1 original aspect ratio. Arrow have yet again delivered in the picture quality department with the first HD presentation on Runaway Train. Despite showing a small amount of print damage during the opening titles, the remainder of the film is pleasantly crisp and detailed. Arrow has retained a small level of grain and black levels are satisfying as detail in darker lit scenes are not lost. No evidence of digital noise reduction or edge enhancement was observed.
Runaway Train was mixed and presented theatrically in Dolby Stereo and Arrow have replicated that on Blu-ray with an English LPCM 2.0 (48Khz/24-bit) audio track. The highlight of the audio mix is Trevor Jones atmospheric score which really does give the film character. Whilst the audio mix does not contain the dynamics or aggressiveness of today’s audio mixes, Arrow have cleaned the track of any noise or hiss and corrected any dropouts and the final result does deliver.
Running on Empty : An Interview with Andrei Konchalovsky (16 minutes) – Director Andrei Konchalovsky reflects on the production history of Runaway Train and its troubled publicity and release, and his relationship with The Cannon Group. Presented in High Definition
From Thespian to Fugitive: Jon Voight remembers Runaway Train (38 minutes) – Jon Voight looks back to his contribution to Runaway Train, the Oscar nominated character he played and working with Andrei Konchalovsky. Presented in High Definition
Sweet and Savage: Eric Roberts on Runaway Train (16 Minutes) – Eric Roberts discusses his first impression of the script and how he became involved in Runaway Train, , working with director Andrei Konchalovsky and fellow co-star Jon Voight. Presented in High Definition
The Calm before the Chaos : Kyle t Heffner reflects on Runaway Train (17 minutes) – Kyle T. Heffner looks back on his involvement with Runaway Train and the character he plays in the film and working with Andrei Konchalovsky. Presented in High Definition
Trailer (3 minutes) – The film’s original theatrical trailer. Presented in High Definition
Trailer Commentary (3 minutes) – a rather short and pointless feature where Rod Laurie (Trailers from Hell) quickly tells a few facts about the film. Presented in High Definition
Arrow have once again scored highly with Runaway Train’s Blu-ray premiere. A taught, gripping film that still stands the test of time presented with a impressive audio / visual transfer and a brand new collection of bonus features that have been specially created for this release. Highly recommended