Showing posts with label akira kurosawa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label akira kurosawa. Show all posts

21 July 2013

Runaway Train Blu-Ray Review

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Rating:
15
BD Release Date (UK):
22nd July 2013
Director:
Andrey Konchalovskiy
Cast:
Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay
Buy: [Blu-ray]


Arrow Video has given Runaway Train a loving blu-ray release stacked full of extras including interviews with most of the main cast like Jon Voight and Eric Roberts. The film is directed by Andrei Konchalovsky who is a Russian director who has worked both in Hollywood and Russia since the 60s. Runaway Train is probably his most well known film to date, he is also known for the more recent House of Fools and the recent notorious flop The Nutcracker in 3D.

Runaway Train is about Oscar "Manny" Manheim (Jon Voight) who is a notorious convict at a prison in Alaska. Manny has been in cell for 3 years (after the doors have been welded shut) after many escape attempts. A Court order makes his nemesis the associate warden to let him out back into the general population. He naturally starts to plan his next escape.

Buck (Eric Roberts) is another convict of the prison. He is naïve southern boy who has been convicted by statutory rape (sex with a underage person). He is played deliberately naïve by Eric Roberts because he wanted to make the character more sympathetic. He is recruited by Manny to help him escape because he works in the laundry room and has access to places most prisoners don’t.

They eventually escape though a sewer. They fall into a river and eventually get to a train yard and jump onto a train but don’t realise till it’s too late it’s a “runaway train”. The train is speeding along the tracks at a rapid speed and they may have company on the train and also can meet their maker any minute.

The film is not a masterpiece but any stretch of the imagination but it’s a very solid Sunday afternoon boy’s own adventure sort of film. It has a fun scenery chewing performance by Jon Voight, who was even nominated for a oscar for best actor, must have been a slow year. Eric Roberts (a normally very underrated actor) gives a very annoying performance somewhat reminiscent of portrayals of Lenny in adaptations of Of Mice and Men. He was mind boggling nominated for an oscar for his performance. It came out the same year as the greatest film ever made Brazil which boosts some great supporting performances but at last got no nominations for acting.

It’s got a slightly gritty edge, which is probably down to Edward Bunker’s involvement on the screenplay. He was a real-life convict who wrote Animal Factory and the book the great Dustin Hoffman film Straight Time was based on. He is also known as Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs. It was the debut of another convict turned actor Danny Trejo.

Runaway Train has an interesting backstory. It was originally meant to be Akira Kurosawa’s first colour film but due to problems with American backers it was shelved. The interesting thing is you could easy see Toshiro Mifune in the Manny role. It would have been a better film if Kurosawa did but it’s certainly worth checking out sometime.

★★★½

Ian Schultz


29 June 2013

Runaway This July With Andrei Konchalovsky’s Runaway Train On BluRay

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Buy Now

Arrow Video is pleased to announce the worldwide Blu-ray debut of Andrei Konchalovsky’s gripping thrill-ride Runaway Train on Monday July 22nd.

Starring Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Jon Voight (Coming Home, Deliverance, The Rainmaker), Eric Roberts and Rebecca De Morney, this brand new dual format DVD & Blu-ray release of Runaway Train has been re-mastered in High Definition by MGM, following its 2010 premiere at the Cannes Film Festival (Classics Selection).

Finally available on Blu-ray for the very first time anywhere in the world, Arrow Video’s brand new deluxe edition of Runaway Train also includes a host of special features and bonus material, the first time any such items have been sourced to accompany the feature on a home video release.

Following its debut at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, Runaway Train went on to be nominated for a total of three Academy Awards (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing) and three Golden Globe Awards (Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor). To this day it remains as one of the all-time classic break-out movies.

Based on a script by the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai), Runaway Train begins as two convicts break-out of Stonehaven Prison in the dead of winter, boarding a freight train with the intention of getting as far away as possible before their notoriously sadistic warden finds out.

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.

With hardboiled prison slang added by real-life ex-con Edward Bunker (Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs), this riveting thriller combines electrifying action with constant psychological tension. Runaway Train  is one of cinema's great thrill-rides.



A full list of the special features included on the Blu-ray &DVD dual format edition of RUNAWAY TRAIN is as follows:

- High Definition transfer of the film prepared by MGM for the Cannes Film Festival premiere.
- High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film.
- Optional English SDH Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Running on Empty – An Interview with director Andrei Konchalovsky.
- From Thespian to Fugitive – Star Jon Voight shares his memories of his Academy Award-nominated role.
- Sweet and Savage: Eric Roberts recalls his Academy Award-nominated performance.
- The Calm Before the Chaos – Co-star Kyle T. Heffner remembers Runaway Train.
- Trailer with commentary by Rod Lurie.
- Original Trailer.
- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Brooke, a new interview with Runaway Train’s Production Designer Stephen Marsh conducted by Calum Waddell and the original Life Magazine article that inspired the film, illustrated with rare behind-the-scenes production images.