A decade later, there would be the wildly successful Speed, featuring Sandra Bullock on a runaway bus. In 1985, it was Rebecca DeMornay on a Runaway Train, and it was not a big hit. In fact, out-of-control vehicles, mostly trains, have been a staple of film comedies and melodramas since the days of the silent films. Runaway Train takes the simple premise and makes a compelling movie of it, with two sinister escaped convicts (played superbly by Jon Voight and Eric Roberts) trapped on the train with De Mornay, facing certain doom. The script is taut, crafty, and suspenseful, and the characterizations are superb. The director is a Russian, Andrei Konchalvosky, and the script was based on a story by acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, whose work on it got derailed. The film works surprisingly well, mixing Roberts's usual crazed character with Voight's best performance since Coming Home, and providing the underrated DeMornay with a second consecutive unglamorous role after Testament.
by Michael Betzold review