Logan's Run (1976)

Genres - Science Fiction, Action  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Chase Movie  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Taking its basic premise and characters' names but little substance from the 1967 novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, Logan's Run appeared in the mid-'70s, after the grim sci-fi explorations of Stanley Kubrick, but before the populist success of George Lucas. Falling artistically as well as chronologically between those two directors' works, the film explores interesting sociological issues with more slickness than depth. As with many science fiction films, too much effort is spent explicating the scenario and too little is spent truly exploring the issues of morality and mortality inherent within. Brooding blond hunk Michael York plays the morally ambiguous protagonist with scowling proficiency, but fellow marquee name Farrah Fawcett manages to cram more wretched acting and non sequiter facial expressions into a brief cameo than most actresses could fit into a leading role. The action sequences involving York's and Jenny Agutter's characters as they flee the city prove gripping and well-directed even though the final act collapses under the weight of its own silliness. Still, the what-if premise of Logan's Run proved resonant enough that it spawned a short-lived TV series the following year. Stylish production design offsets special effects so dated that you can practically smell the mothballs when the film receives contemporary screenings. Compare this with David Cronenberg's contemporaneous Shivers for a more nuanced extrapolation of '70s decadence.