I'm leading the Sci-Fi Squad Movie Club this week, and we're shifting gears a little bit with a 1980's action-thriller, that also happens to have an interesting take on how robotics might play a part in out future (or at least how our future was perceived in 1984, the time of the film's release). The film is Runaway, from writer/director Michael Crichton, who did a capable job in the director's chair, although the movie died a quick death upon release.

Runaway stars Tom Selleck as Sgt. Jack Ramsey, a cop in the "Runaways" unit, a special division of the police force that handles safety concerns caused by robots (almost like a futuristic version of animal control). When a household robot runs amuck and starts shooting people during a dangerous, but routine call, Ramsey discovers a trail that leads him into the most perilous case of his career, against techno-terrorist Dr. Charles Luther (Gene Simmons. Yes, The Demon from KISS). Kirstie Alley appears in an early role as Dr. Luther's mule and Cynthia Rhodes co-stars as Ramsey's partner Karen.

The film is available to "watch instantly" on Netflix, which should make it easy for you to join along. Here are some things to consider while you watch it...

--Does the mundane "everyday-living" approach to the robots help or hinder the film?
--Is Crichton's vision of the future obsolete or is this still a plausible direction for robotics?
--Cornfields and vertigo - Are these intentional nods to Hitchcock?
--What's your take on the acting style of Gene Simmons?
--Is the scene with the psychic necessary to the film?
--What elements make the film Michael Crichton-esque?

We'll be back with a discussion post on Monday. You can see the full trailer for Runaway after the jump.

For those following along at home, so far the Club has watched: Altered States - The Man Who Fell to Earth - Right at Your Door