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Logan's Run

#144 - Logan's Run
Michael Anderson, 1976

In a post-apocalyptic utopian society where everyone is ritually sacrificed once they reach the age of thirty, one of the system's enforcers unexpectedly becomes a target and must try to unravel the truth before it's too late.

On the surface, Logan's Run definitely looks like a product of the 1970s, with the futuristic setting playing off a lot of bizarre yet familiar concepts for the distant future. The men wear jumpsuits, the women wear mini-dresses, there are bright colours and neon lights all over the place...there are even a few jabs at contemporary culture such as one sequence taking place at a high-tech cosmetic surgery clinic where operations are done by a machine that looks like the bastard love-child of the laser from Goldfinger and a spider. The actual narrative is familiar enough - an unquestioning supporter of the regime (Michael York) is forced to wake up when he is given a top-secret mission that means becoming a target for his co-workers and searching for the dissenters' hideout, teaming up with one such potential dissenter (Jenny Agutter) in the process. Their journey leads them all over a world that has a laundry list of dystopia tropes, evading capture and death at every turn...and so on and so forth. While the campy weirdness of the domed city makes for a visually interesting setting at first, the film does run out of steam quite a bit in its second half. I'll cover it in spoilers...

WARNING: "Logan's Run" spoilers below
The second half of the film does involve York and Agutter escaping from the city and into the outside world of post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., meeting up with an old man (Peter Ustinov) before eventually deciding to return to the city and bring down the government, but the whole "discovering the outside world" thing drags hard and Ustinov, good actor that he is, doesn't do that much of note as the absent-minded elderly cat-lover, though I guess that's a bit more plausible than him being some sort of clear-minded wasteland oracle. The climax is a bit surprising and maybe a little unbelievable even for this movie, but it worked well enough, I guess.

Of course, there are some holes in the film's logic (if the computer that rules over the city knows that ankhs are a symbol of "runners", how does Agutter get away with wearing one as a prominently displayed necklace even before she gets in trouble for joining up with York? Wouldn't that be something worth telling the enforcers who chase runners all the time?) and the second half definitely doesn't hold up compared to the first half, but otherwise it's a flashy slice of '70s camp that is fairly enjoyable but I don't think of it as especially great.