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!

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