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Settling in for a solid slice of 80s Cannon Film fare, nothing could have prepared me for the quality, intensity or profundity of Andrei Konchalovsky’s Runaway Train. Jon Voight, in one of his best, most-underappreciated roles, plays a violent and notorious criminal, who escapes from a maximum security prison with the help of a hot-headed, idolising youngster played by Eric Roberts. After evading the authorities, both find themselves aboard an out-of-control freight train, manned only by Rebecca DeMornay’s novice driver. As the locomotive races through the wintry Alaskan wilderness, the authorities hustle to regain control, while the convicts face an increasingly uncertain fate. Based on an original screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, this is an incredible examination of heroism, machismo and the true worth of human life, in the same way that a recent film like Joe Carnahan’s The Grey upends its genre trappings and preconceptions to become something altogether more powerful and enduring.

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