That bad guy from Stargrove hatches a diabolical plan to steal all the dubious chips using bug-bots while Tom Selleck's mustache chases tail AND Gene Simmons. Maybe program your robots to only attack your enemies, Gene.
What is Runaway? It falls into this weird pit where you can't really say its a stinker as there is a number of really well done things. Of course, Selleck is great. Gene Simmons is a great villain. Kirstie Alley and Cynthia Rhodes are competent. It looks good. The effects are solid. The "future" world (not sure if its the future as we never have a "Five Years From Now" card) is well crafted. The score is appropriate and subtle. Yet, somehow every bit of good is countered with pure cheesy stink.
The robots... how do you build a Roomba to hold a gun? The movie tells us that the runaway that does so has been modified - so this family of 4 put a hand on it that can pull a trigger. It doesn't work. So because the families of America are too stupid to not put handgun holding hands on their dust-busters, local police are now robot catchers with all of the powers of the precinct to catch robots that runover corn and drop cement in the wrong spot. "I'll need a tank, three choppers and sixteen rocket launchers to catch this pizza-bot!"
Second to this is the pacing and narrative. While Tom and Cynthia are doing their Geek Squad thing for the first half, a trail of clues that lead to Gene Simmons is put together off screen. They go from turning off robots at a construction site to infiltrating the corporate HQ that Simmon's Luther is hatching his mastermind plan. Luther is a bit of an idiot. Great job leaving that Tupperware full of clues on your secretaries desk and modifying a robot near those chips so that the only way the cops can catch you is to have them come to this office. You boner.
While we're being told a very dark tale of technology gone amuck and the Occam's Razor of our relationship with tech, Tom's character is growing a huge chub over damsels in distress held captive by security bots. Back that up with some seriously not funny jokes. Its clear while Crichton is a sci-fi genius, he's about as funny as mud. Toss in the least frightening robots since The Rock Lords and now the scale is tilting to Stinker.
Over the top action:
Good Movie Quality:
Bad Movie Quality: