Enter the Sandman
"Logan's Run" is another one of those movies which tries to paint a picture of a futuristic world, something which to be frank wasn't that uncommon during the 70s. As such it is a movie which is full of 70s special effects, futuristic set designs and of course a new set of rules which the future world lives by. Is it any good? Well considering its age "Logan's Run" is not bad although ultimately all a little stupid and now quite cheesy. But like so many movies from the 70s it also conceals a message about life, freedom and age.
It's the year 2274 and after the world has gone to ruin the remaining humans have created a new world for themselves living inside of a dome unaware of what resides outside. It's an almost idyllic life with no work to do except for the fact that when you turn 30 your life is terminated in a supposed renewal ceremony or if you don't agree with death you become a runner and are hunted and killed by the Sandmen, the police force of the future. Logan (Michael York - The Three Musketeers), a Sandman, is ordered to become a runner so he can discover what Sanctuary is for his mysterious superiors. With Jessica-6 (Jenny Agutter - The Eagle Has Landed), a young woman he befriends, they find themselves being chased down by his friend Francis (Richard Jordan - Rooster Cogburn ... and the Lady) a Sandman as they traverse the underground corridors of the dome and out into the unknown outside world.
It has to be said that "Logan's Run" feels quite familiar, it's in the same manner as "Plant of the Apes" and as such is a little routine almost bordering on the unoriginal with it's vision of a future where women wear short skirts etc etc. But then it throws some interesting ideas at you about a future where once you hit 30 your time is up and you either die in a renewal process where audiences cheer on your death in ignorance of the truth or you become a runner hunted down and killed by Sandmen, otherwise known as the police. The whole 30 year concept and that of renewal as well as Sanctuary is almost thought provoking with more than a few religious connotations to it all. In fact the journey which Logan and Jessica take as they traverse through the Domes underground caverns and into an abandoned, unknown world has all the feelings of religious enlightenment. And in one of the most heavy handed approaches the final scenes with Peter Ustinov look like something more akin to the 10 Commandments.
Although thought provoking with its look of the future and has a little intelligence about some of the concepts "Logan's Run" is ultimately rather silly. There are some serious plot holes in the whole concept of the future and the reason why Logan having been a Sandman becomes a runner and it doesn't take a genius to spot them either. But even the production delivers some silliness with fight sequences where people grapple like school kids, or shoot lasers at each other missing time and again makes it all a bit of a joke, spoiling what could have been an intelligent movie full of clever action instead of cheesy fights.
As for the actual special effects, well 30 odd years later the whole thing ends up quite cheesy with polystyrene looking rocks and futuristic computers which are more lights and wires than anything else, but then "Logan's Run" was not a cheap movie and I imagine that it was impressive considering it came out before George Lucas had wowed us with "Star Wars". The opening scenes which deliver an over head shot into the futuristic domed city are obviously done with scale models but even so the attention to detail and the whole look is quite powerful. The same can be said when it comes to the inside of the various futuristic buildings and although they may now look like your common all garden shopping mall they still look good. But it is when "Logan's Run" exits this futuristic city into an abandoned world where vines are growing over monuments and buildings are crumbling does it really look like a movie which has had money spent on it.
As for the whole look of the future well there is something a little stereotypically sexy about it with women wearing free flowing, short dresses which at times feel like they will reveal a little too much and the hairstyles are totally 70s, just look at Farrah Fawcett to see what I mean. But to be honest the look is stereotypical and the future in so many of these movies feel like they have been designed by men and plays to the male fantasy, such as the fact that you no longer have relationships you just teleport someone into your room for pleasure and that's it, the concept of marriage and commitment is completely alien.
As for the acting well Michael York may not be the first name to come to mind playing a futuristic Sandman but he manages to deliver the dialogue with such seriousness that it makes it work, something which in lesser hands would have just added to the silliness. Plus there is Jenny Agutter as Jessica his companion on his journey and it has to be said that Agutter ends up succeeding in making her character sexy, yet doesn't manage much else but then the character is not exactly well written. Otherwise there is Richard Jordan doing an adequate 70s performances as Logan's friend Francis and as already mentioned Farrah Fawcett turns up in a small part as Holly but has the big hair that we knew her for. Which really just leaves Peter Ustinov who plays the eccentric Old Man with a great comical touch yet ends up being more of a biblical figure than anything else.
What this all boils down to is that "Logan's Run" is 100% stereotypical 70s futuristic fare which looks and comes across like so many others which try to paint an alternative future. But in a midst much of the silliness which ends up occurring it does throw up some interesting ideas which makes it still worth a watch, even if the cheesy special effects end up making you laugh more than they should.