Jon Voight received his third Oscar nomination for playing Oscar "Manny" Manheim a convict in a Alaskan Prison in Runaway Train.
Runaway Train is a rather odd and not that effective of thriller involving two convicts who try to get away from a prison by taking a train which becomes a runaway train. It efforts at being thrilling are weak, and its attempts at philosophy are strange and odd at best.
Jon Voight plays the basically the head of the prisoners in an Alaskan Maximum security prison. Voight plays his character as a tough no nonsense guy who is always in command of his situation. Voight uses a accent which works most of the time, although in parts it seems a little odd. Voight does do a good job at showing the way his character is in charge at all times. He has the proper command and strength in the role.His scenes where he yells at the warden and tells other people what to do, are very well done.
Voight's performance is hindered quite a bit by the other actors and the script though. Voight basically has no equal here, and he not that good even, so he cannot create any scenes that work well with the other actors, since Eric Roberts gives one of the worst nominated performances ever, it was like he was doing Jim Varney's Ernest character. He and Roberts create nothing together since Roberts is so bad in this performance.
Problems though arise also from the script since the script really does not decide who the character of Manny really is. Is he an evil criminal, just a normal guy who has lost his mind, or in some way a good guy. The script though changes the way his character is suppose to be over and over. In one scene it seems like he is concerned for the other prisoners than in another he is being very evil and selfish wanting the prisoner to die for him. The scripts just is not very good, but Voight does try his best to accommodate the current nature of his character made by the script. When he needs to be concerned and good he is just that, when he is suppose to be insane he really seems insane, and when he seems evil he seems evil. He is unable to connect these differing aspects of the character even though he tries. Such as when he kind of looks upon himself as evil but even that is not perfectly done. Also at a few times he goes a little over the top such as when he is yelling at the end. He does try his hardest it seems and he does succeed at times despite how bad the script is. But still he never creates that good of a performance due to these set backs.