[Film Review] Logan’s Run (1976)

Logan s Run poster

Title: Logan’s Run
Year: 1976
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Director: Michael Anderson
Screenwriter: David Zelag Goodman
based on the novel of William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography: Ernest Laszlo
Michael York
Jenny Agutter
Richard Jordan
Peter Ustinov
Farrah Fawcett
Michael Anderson Jr.
Roscoe Lee Browne
Rating: 7.1/10

Logan s Run 1976

A 70s USA grandiose Sci-Fi picture directed by Oscar-nominated UK director Michael Anderson from AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1956) fame. Loosely adapted from its titular novel, LOGAN’S RUN depicts an Utopian future in the year of 2274, where the residue of human beings are living in a sealed dome city, everything is under the reign of a super-computer, designed to cater to all aspects of human’s needs, only with one proviso, whoever reaches 30-year-old, must volunteer to a ritual called “Carrousel”, to start their life anew, those who refuse to abide this rule, which are termed as“runners”, will be hunted and terminated by a team of armed police forces called“Sandmen”, and our protagonist Logan 5 (York) is one of them, a fairly good one too.

In its opening wheeze, audience witnesses this ostensible Carrousel rebirth, a surprisingly commendable feat involving a magnificent flying-wire stunt, still can feasibly grab our attention 40 years after its birth, where those 30-year-old birthday men/women are gathered together in their monotonous garbs, then start to defy gravity and float upwards under the propulsion of an energy field, hailed by frenetic onlookers, until being individually shot down by laser beams, which consummates their so-called ritual renewal, but an unsettling frisson penetrates our mind, what is really happening?

Other than the occasional disruptions caused by Runners, this mega-computer organized dome city is a hedonistic paradise, it is retro-futuristically antiseptic and every youngster is uniformly dressed with a specific color scheme according to ages, there is no concept of family, one can choose his or her ideal sex partner through a unique transportation booth, and there is a neon-lit love shop in the arcade, solely to gratify one’s sexual desire. Face-lifting and body-modification technology is also super-advanced.

Soon Logan is assigned by the computer to operate an under-handed mission, his age being adjusted from 26 to reaching 30, Logan must infiltrate the group of Runners, so as to locate a secret place named Sanctuary, where people can live without age limitation, and destroy it. So in a befuddling flurry, Logan begins his run, along with a young rebel Jessica 6 (Agutter), whilst tailed by his task-unwitting Sandman best-friend Francis 7 (Jordan).

In a valiant fashion, Logan and Jessica wreak havoc in a posh beautification center, get in touch with Runners and encounter a proto-robot Box (Lee Browne, one year prior the emergence of STAR WARS), who timely corroborates that the renewal is a hoax, those being dispatched by laser beams are frozen in his storage room with a frightening subtext hinting cannibalism. Eventually, after escaping the city and ascending onto the surface through an elevator, they (and viewers too) realize the city is entirely built underground, whereas the terra firma is totally derelict and abandoned, until they chance upon the last man alive in a ruined Washington DC, the old man (Ustinov), who will give scattershot information of a past world which is more aligned with today’s notion, followed by a final showdown between Logan and Francis. But what about the Sanctuary? Where is it? Maybe there has never been one, it is simply a myth to elicit hope and strength to disillusioned Runners.

In an overtly rash third act, Logan and Jessica take the old man with them, as a living proof that life doesn’t need to being ended at 30, to unveil the inconvenient truth of their Utopian world and exact the final liberation, which comes off as suspiciously handy in a palpably sagging finale.

Shot in wide-angle splendor, the film simultaneously embodies the cutting-edge Special Effect technology and betrays the outdated modus operandi of its days, however the concept of its escapist future-world, bolstered by an intrusively retro-futuristic score from Jerry Goldsmith, presciently precedes the more insidious, and virtual-reality blurring milieu of THE MATRIX trilogy, a congenial cast also helps to keep the movie entertaining, York is motivated enough to represent Logan less a cipher than he is designed, and Agutter is predictably pigeonholed an under-developed but eye-pleasing foil, plus a muttering impromptu Ustinov is just too much a jewel in the fray.

A reboot of this picture has been in the pipeline for years but to no avail, then if one can spike the archetype story with some more topical elements such as clones and advanced A.I., taking a leaf from the book of the with-it TV series WESTWORLD, perhaps television is a more liberal and benign alternative presently, albeit the studio had already made a TV-spinoff in 1977 after the movie’s success, which only lasted for one season.

Oscar 1976  Logan s Run


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