Runaway is a 1984 science fiction thriller written and directed by Michael Crichton (the author of Jurassic Park). Set in the near future where robots are a part of everyday life, Tom Selleck stars as a Detroit police sergeant who is part of a special unit that handles robots that go against their programming and threaten the population. The film, which also stars Gene Simmons and Kirstie Alley, was a box office disappointment, but is notable for its predictions of how a police department would operate in the future.
The following weapons were used in the film Runaway:
Dr. Charles Luther's "smart" missile gun
The missile-firing pistol used by Dr. Charles Luther (Gene Simmons) in the movie was probably designed by the prop department.
Though the model info is unknown, the base of the gun is clearly a 1911 style frame, probably provided by Detonics. Interestingly, the publicity materials for the film (especially in the theatrical poster) showed Tom Selleck holding the gun though he never uses it in the movie. The story alludes to one of the scientists working with Luther being an expert in propulsion & perhaps the supplier of the gun & its ammo. The runaway squad's chief tech officer (Stan Shaw) later calls the mini-rockets "smart bullets."
Luther pulls the missile gun while the officers deal with his target. It looks like it may have been fitted with custom "grooved" grips
Note that the magazine well inside the grip has been capped off by a custom buttplate
Luther about to fire at Johnson in the alley.
Luther fires his missile gun. In contrast to current style prop weapons, there is little to no muzzle flash when the gun is fired. You see that little flash inside the barrel? That's it.
Another example of the gun being fired, this time only a small puff of smoke is the tell
The most dramatic flash the gun has in the entire film
The projectiles are all electronic "heat seeking missiles" with a back half made up of solid propellant, making use of valves for directional control. They are able to be programmed to "go after" a specific person using a person's unique heat pattern as a signature.
Sgt. James cuts open one of the missiles while Ramsay watches. Neither man bothering to wear a speck of protective gear. James even lights a cigarette!
The dissected bullet. In 1983/84 this kind of micro computer was radical science fiction
Ramsay finds 2 unfired missiles inside the hotel room where Thompson was shot
It is unknown whether the missiles can alter speed, but they don't move any more quickly than a man can run during this POV sequence when Ramsay is running from a missile. He turns and looks back several times during this scene
Ramsay ducks away from a smart missile in flight. The missiles, while in flight, are depicted as nothing more than black streaks. This was quite effective in real time as the film was made long before freeze framing on computers was possible. But here, it shows us they may have simply painted on the film negative to animate the bullets.
Yes, they both just stand there and watch the black streak move around them
It misses Johnson somehow, even though he is just standing there wide eyed
Thompson stares at the missile before it turns back around to kill Johnson. Note, she doesn't seem to be using her Detonics here, while she has the custom long slide in the next few shots
Johnson takes an explosive projectile in the back
The Detonics SpeedMaster is used as the service handgun of Sgt. Jack R. Ramsay (Tom Selleck) and Officer Karen Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes). The SpeedMaster is a custom Detonics 1911 model featuring a compact CombatMaster slide, the longer grip frame of a ScoreMaster, a 6" barrel, and a barrel weight. The pistol was specifically built by the Detonics company for Tom Selleck for use in the film, as Selleck was friends with the owner of Detonics.
Selleck's screen-used gun later became a part of the inventory of Stembridge Gun Rentals, and would later appear in Terminator 2: Judgment Day used by Linda Hamilton.
Detonics SpeedMaster - .45 ACP
Ramsay and his new partner head into a cornfield to stop a runaway.
Ramsay uses the Detonics SpeedMaster. At the time the film was released, it was somewhat unusual to see uniformed law enforcement carry automatic pistols instead of the commonplace service revolver.
Ramsay takes control of a suspect who left his child at the mercy of a runaway.
Thompson holds a hotel room full of suspects at bay with her service issue Detonics.
In the third act of the film, while trying to protect Jackie Rogers from Luther both officers use compact Detonics CombatMasters as sidearms.
Ramsay gives up his gun to Luther for the second time
Ramsay takes cover from explosive projectiles while patrons of the outdoor cafe wonder why
Smith & Wesson Model 36
Johnson (Chris Mulkey) uses what is likely to be a Smith & Wesson Model 36 chief's special, but it is never shown well enough to be sure. Johnson uses it to fire at Ramsay after he kicks in the hotel room door, thinking it's Luther come to kill him.
Smith & Wesson Model 36 - .38 Special - 5 shot. First pattern with flat latch cylinder release.
Johnson stops firing, which if this was Luther would have been the end of him
brightest muzzle flash EVER
Ramsey tucks the small revolver into the small of his back, kind of like Magnum PI used to do.
Thompson holds the suspects snub revolver in a very unsafe fashion, while they attempt to put him in the back seat sans handcuffs
Smith & Wesson Model 19
The 2.5"-barrel Smith & Wesson Model 19 is used by a robot (!)
In one of the films more tense scenes, Ramsay uses a laser gun with a battery pack on his belt to stop a murderous runaway inside a suburban home. It should be noted that Tom Selleck's character only fires this weapon in the film. He never fires his main sidearm, or his compact backup.
Ramsay tests the laser on the ground before entering the home
Ramsay enters the home laser gun at the ready
Ramsay blind fires around a corner before moving into the hallway
Ramsay takes a shot at the armed runaway from under a bed
Ramsay takes a final shot at the runaway from on top of the bed
Custom Police Belt
Today it is very common to see officers carrying semi-automatic handguns, but in 1983 (when the film was shot) most police agencies issued revolvers. These custom belt rigs were way ahead of their time.
The customized police utility belt were way ahead of their time.
A small surveillance drone is seen being used.