The Running Man Review (1987)

The Running Man is a film that was released in 1987 and it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards and Richard Dawson as Damon Killian. For those that haven’t seen it the film is set in a future dystopia where everything is controlled by the media and where the media controls the public belief.

To the point where they can control whether the public knows who you truly are and when you die. Richards is a former police officer who decides to go against orders and ends up in prison. He eventually escapes with the help of two inmates and together they are eventually recaptured and brought in to compete on the most popular show in the world, the titular Running Man.

 Over-all this movie is pretty good. It’s got all the hallmarks of classic 80s Arnold action films, this is one that comments on the dangers of the power of the television. The story and plot works for the film as it’s something that can still be felt today, and it is effective in doing what it does. I mean we have secret underground resistances, game shows that have bombastic “stalkers” with colourful personas and characters that are all there to kill people.The characters are all awesome as well. I really enjoyed the stalkers and how they’re treated like celebrities. Richards is good, I mean he’s an 80s Arnie role so he’s good. His motivations work and it sets up his character fast. Damon Killian is a great antagonist, he’s charismatic and funny and charming and just a great person to watch. Everyone else works in their roles as well, I think that his two friends should have been in it longer or have been expanded on more, as is they’re pretty forgettable. I feel the same with Amber, I mean she has more to do and has some development through the film, so at least she has that going for her. 

Going back to the stalkers my favourite is Captain Freedom, played by the ever awesome Jesse “The Body” Ventura, he’s great in this film. We even get a pretty awesome fight between him and Arnie in the film, although I wish we got to see more of him, he disappears after the “fight”. I call it a “fight” because it wasn’t really a fight between the two. My only issue with the stalkers is really Dynamo, like what is he supposed to be. You got Subzero who’s whole shtick is the cold and he uses hockey and a sharp hockey stick as his weapons. You got Buzzsaw who is a biker and uses chainsaws, and you got Fireball who uses a flamethrower. All things that fit their personas and gimmicks. Then you got Dynamo, who uses electricity (Ok), has a light-up spartan type outfit, drives a buggy that looks like it was from power rangers, and sings opera? He’s got like 3 different gimmicks in one. 

The film is paced effectively, only giving time to things that really matter. The film sets up everything incredibly fast to get to the show as quick as it can. I mean it establishes the world, the characters, their motivations, and the show within the first 20 mins of the film. We don’t get any of their history at all through the film, and to me it works for it. 

The editing is cinematography is good, could be a little better but it works. The score is the same, it’s ok, could be better. It’s not super memorable to me like other Arnie movies. The production design is amazing and really helps to set and sell the world. Like the show and fake shows feel so real. My favourite part of the film though is that this is peak Arnie one-liners and noises. I can’t stop laughing at some of them. 

Over-all this film is a fun classic and well worth a watch. Two-thumbs up.

On to some other things, sorry I haven’t posted in a little while, I would say that it’s due to school or life, but really it’s due to laziness. I have some stuff I’m planning on doing coming down the pipeline. I’ve been trying to come up with another rant as I haven’t done one in a while and I’m saving some for the eventual Star Wars time after I review the films. If anyone has some suggestions leave them in the comments. 

Other than that, expect reviews to become more consistent with one of the next ones being a doozy, as I’m going to start working on a review of the first 5 volumes of Immortal Hulk. So stay tuned!

Turbo Kid (2015) Review

My first new review on here. I had to make up missing the last couple weeks so I decided to review a movie I have wanted to watch for a while and finally decided to watch it. Turbo Kid is an action-adventure comedy superhero film that came out in 2015. It stars Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffery and Michael Ironside. The film is a co-production between Canada and New Zealand and was shot in Quebec and was based off of a short film called T is for Turbo.

This fun is a lot of fun to watch. It’s a film made around the beginning of the 80s nostalgia wave that we are currently in. I mean it’s set in the futuristic post-apocalyptic year of 1997. It knows the kind of movie it is right there. The story is good for a relatively low-budget Canadian film. It uses it’s setting to tell a fun story about the rise of a wasteland hero known as Turbo Kid. His journey through the film is the typical hero’s journey, but it didn’t feel formulaic to me, it was handled pretty well. His relationship with Apple was also handled pretty well. I like how it was a natural relationship that didn’t end up romantic like most 80s movies would have done. The other characters are all handled well too, with Zeus being a fun villain and Fredrick was a fun older badass cowboy.  A character that was intriguing to me was a character known as Skeleton, he had a cool design and a cool weapon and was a good mini-boss character. Acting wise everything was great as well, with everyone putting in good performances that fit the world and the tone of the film. A favourite of mine is the ever amazing Michael Ironside who played a fun villain. The humour in the film was pretty effective as it worked within the tone of the film. I mean the tone of the film is set in the start with the prior mention future year of 1997. The humour comes through a lot in the end, and comes from the effects. The film is well paced, as it knows when to give smaller and slower moments and knows when to move fast. I also like how the film handles exposition, as it opts to show us The Kid’s backstory through unconscious flashbacks, and that it reveals something during the last flashback that I felt was well-timed.  I feel like the editing was good, but had a few issues during action scenes, but that also has to do with trying to get the best out of the budget.

I loved the production design on this film. It has that lived-in, dirty look while still being able to be colourful and vibrant. Everything looks used and cobbled together, which helps sell the setting, as well as everything probably was cobbled together. It gives it that look which a lot of big blockbusters have tried to do but haven’t been that successful. Sometimes stuff looks better when it actually is cobbled together. All the sets and the props and the costumes all have this look to them. Especially with the masks and how it’s like the characters were like “screw it, it’s the apocalypse who care’s if i were a trench coat, walk with a golf club as a cane, and where a mask/helmet that looks like an ancient god”. The turbo rider suit looks cool and I love how the gauntlet looks like a modified NES Power Glove (I love the power glove, it’s so bad). A big example of this is that everyone rides bicycles to get around, which I find hilarious but I also really like it. I like that choice as it adds to the world, especially with how they’re all mostly just dirty regular bikes, they haven’t been made to look modified to fit a wasteland. Another strength of the film is the cinematography as everything looks amazing and is shot very well. It has a cinematic look to the film, sometimes lower budget stuff can really show the budget in the camera work, but to me (other than some obvious drone shots) it doesn’t really show it. It works very well. Another strength is the soundtrack of the film. It has that 80s synth wave feel that a lot of these 80s nostalgia works have. It’s very Blood Dragon and Stranger Things-esque (even though the film is older than that show which I also love). It’s so good that I’m listening to it on spotify as I’m writing this review. Now we get to the best strength of the film, the gore. This film is so gory and creative with it that it’s awesome. The gunshots feel weighty and pack a punch and everyone bleeds like a fountain (heh……). The gore has that low budget feel but it just adds to the charm of the film. The guts and blood and body parts all look like a low-budget 80s sci-fi horror movie which works so well. Even though there’s no body horror in it, it has a bit of a Cronenberg-y feel to it. They just work so well and add so much charm to the film. They really feel like 80s effects. Some issues I had with the film was the hand-to-hand action and the visual effects (digital effects). The digital effects all felt low-budget, but not in a charming kind of way as low-budget visual effects can still be done really well with a little more time. The hand-to-hand action could be better, I mean it’s a Canadian film so of course it’s going to be kind of weak, but it could use some improving. 

Over-all this is a fun, charming film that I think everyone should see if their into this type of film. As a Canadian filmmaker who’s studied film and is now working on getting into the industry, this film makes me want to get keep working towards that goal as it’s the kind of film I’d love to work on. Canadian cinema is mostly known for documentaries or dramatic films (even though there are ones that I think are really good out there), and so seeing a film like this being made in this environment makes me happy and hopeful to see more. I’ll be looking for a physical copy of this film going forward. Over-all a two thumbs up, go watch it and support it so the sequel can be made.