The true winning formula, however, is found in Voight and Roberts’ double-act. Their eccentric characters are funny, violent and heartwarming all at the same time, where we root for them despite the fact that they’re basically psychopaths.
The movie comes to rest on Voight and, to a lesser extent, on the views of the train itself, which looks great thundering through the snow. Voight is nearly as impressive in appearance, tricked out with some menacing scars and a gold tooth, and he gives his part a reading quite unlike his previous work. [22 Jan 1986, p.D7]
Runaway Train isn't just bad -- it's bodaciously bad, grotesquely overblown, lurid in its emotion, big ideas on its brain. And anyone with a taste for camp will have a glorious good time. [20 Jan 1986, p.C4]
Not every movie -- even one based on an unproduced Kurosawa screenplay -- has to be about Life itself. Oh well, enjoy it for the thrills, and don't worry about trying to keep a straight face. [30 Dec 1985, p.62]
Runaway Train, which could have been Kurosawa's Wages of Fear, has been re- written by a committee and does not
explore the theme so much as hold it up for ridicule: Runaway Train is an also-Ran. [23 Dec 1985]