Friday, 27 February 2015

COMPETING FILM SHOWDOWN - Runaway vs The Terminator

Looking at film.  Sometimes two very similar films come out close together, see which one is better...

1984: Killler Robot Showdown

In 1984, two films about killer robots were produced.  How do they compare?

Why did it happen?

An attempt to cash-in of the rise of the science fiction blockbuster and coincidence.  The Terminator comes from an idea James Cameron was shopping around, Runaway seems to be an attempt to cash-in in on the success of Blade Runner (1982).

Round 1


"You've been targeted for termination." ~ Kyle Reese, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - The name is lame and obvious, and every time they use it to describe the squad or malfunctioning robot it only serves as a reminder.  Turns out the "runaway squad" deals with malfunctioning robots not, say, missing persons.
  • The Terminator - A generic name, but tough.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 2


"And no one knows why or what the HELL its all about!" ~ The Police Chief, Runaway.

  • Runaway - Some guy wants to make money selling weapons or something and kills people to cover it up by replacing chips in robots and his heat seeking missile gun.  The plot is flimsy but holds together, although it does need a pointless addition of psychic to push the plot along.
  • The Terminator - A robot and a man are sent back from the future to save the mother the man who saves humanity before he is born.  For a film involving time travel it does seem to hold together pretty well although it's pretty self contradictory.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 3


"Are you Sarah Connor?" - The Terminator, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - Pretty much all stereotypical characters and the film relies on that fact.
  • The Terminator - Pretty well drawn characters.  Some stereotypical stuff but it mostly disappears once the plot starts going rather than relying on it.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 4


" I'll be back!" ~ The Terminator, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - The two names (at the time) in the move were Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons.  Selleck from the concurrent success of Magnum PI and as the lead singer of Kiss.  And with the accept of Kristie Alley, that's pretty much still true today.  GW Bailey had minor success but made his name the same year in a similar role in Police Academy.  Selleck's charm and affable conflict with the stand-offishness of the character conflict making Selleck look bored throughout the entire film.  Simmons looks creepy but stunned, seemingly a choice made by the director when casting him.  The rest of the cast are average to poor in their roles.
  • The Terminator - No one really of note in the cast at the time, with the film being delayed so Arnold Schwarzenegger could star in Conan the Barbarian which lifted his profile.  Most of the actors in major roles handle them pretty well.  Schwarzenegger is wooden and emotionless, but that is what's required from the part.  Many of the actors (even minor ones) benefited from repeated use by Cameron in later films.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 5


"The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot: ~ Kyle Reese, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - Poor.  Really poor.  Unconvincing.  More lame than laughable.
  • The Terminator - Great.  The stop motion is dated, but still acceptable..
WINNER - The Terminator

Round 6


"We got two dead officers, do you understand me mister? Two. Dead. Cops! We got two wounded - one of them your own partner - and we got two dead guinea punks!" ~ The Police Chief, Runaway.

  • Runaway -  A few action scenes that would have been good on a TV series at that time.
  • The Terminator - Some large, well executed action scenes.

WINNER:  The Thirteenth Floor.

Round 7


"I can hear it now. He's going to be called the god-damned phonebook killer." ~ Lieutenant Traxler, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - The violence it mostly unseen and weakly portrayed when it is.  Fails to match the promise of the premise.
  • The Terminator - Very violent and graphically portrayed, but fits the film..

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 8


"He said there's a storm coming in." ~ Gas Station Attendant.
"I know" ~ Sarah Connor, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - Everything leads to the obvious and predictably happy ending with the obvious personal obstacle surmounted and the obvious ironic twist death of the villain.
  • The Terminator - Bittersweet ending with a mild twist.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 9


"Look at it this way: in a hundred years, who's gonna care?" ~ Nancy, The Terminator.

  • Runaway - It can't possibly even have held up at the time.  It's clearly 1984 with the occasional robot to make it "the future."
  • The Terminator - The future is portrayed rarely and is dark and hard to see, but effective.  The stop motion effects are dated and obvious but still almost acceptable.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 10


"Give me your bra" ~ Karen Thompson, Runaway.

Bechdel Test:
  • Runaway - Karen Thompson runs a debug scan on Jackie and gives her instructions, mostly asking her to take off her clothes, but it counts as a pass.
  • The Terminator - Sarah Connor and her housemate Ginger mostly talk about boys.  Fellow waitress Nancy talks to Sarah about waitressing and the newstory about her death.  Small scenes, but enough to give it a pass.
Mako Mori Test:
  • Runaway - Thompson has no plot of her own, just a rookie partner with an obligatory tacked on romance.  Fail.
  • The Terminator - Sarah has a storyline, mostly pushed by events but she does have some growth.  Pass.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 11


"I saw you on TV" ~ Bobby Ramsey, Runaway.

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 12


"Come with me if you want to live." ~ Kyle Reese, The Terminator.


Rotten Tomatoes - Critics.

Rotten Tomatoes - Audience (Liked it).

WINNER - The Terminator

Round 13


" You can't run away, Ramsay, I'll find you." ~ Luther, Runaway.

Even if you haven't seen both films, do the survey.


  • Runaway - 0 (0 wins, 0 ties)
  • The Terminator - 12 (12 wins, 0 ties)

A clean sweep this time.  Runaway is only worthwhile for so-bad-it's-good viewings and then there are better (worse?) films for that.  The Terminator, obviously, is a classic.

Upcoming Showdowns

27th March

1999: Virtual Reality Showdown (Round 1 - Match 2) - Dark City vs The Matrix.

~ DUG.
(Includes Virtual Reality Showdown Match 2)

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