A retired elite Black Ops Commando launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter to blackmail him into starting a revolution and getting an exiled dictator back into power.
Mark L. Lester
Rae Dawn Chong,
Set in a totalitarian society. Ben Richards is a cop who was blamed for a massacre which wasn't his fault. He would be sent to prison and breaks out with some other inmates. He tries to escape but the woman whom he dragged into his plan turns him over to the authorities. Damon Killian, who is the host of THE RUNNING MAN a game show wherein convicted felons are given the chance to run to freedom but have to elude the stalkers; men who hunt them down and kill them in gruesome manners. When he learns that Richards has been caught, he wants him to be the show's next contestant. After being brought to Killian, Richards turns him down, Killian then reveals to Richards that his two friends who were in prison with him and who broke out with him have been caught, so unless Richards does the show they will. But on the night of the show, Richards is set to go but Killian also reveals that Richards' two friends are going with him. Richards tells Killian that he will be back. But first ! Written by
Announcer's voiceover: "The Running Man has been brought to you by: Breakaway Paramilitary Uniforms, Orthopure Pure Procreation Pills, and Cadre Cola - it hits the spot. Promotional considerations paid for by Kelton Flame Throwers, Wainwright Electrical Launchers, and Hammond & Gage Chain Saws. Damon Killian's wardrobe by Chez Antoine, 19th century craftsmanship for the 21st century man. Cadre trooper and studio guard's sidearms provided by Colchester, the pistol of patriots. Remember, tickets for the ICS studio tour are always available for class A citizens in good standing. If you'd like to be a contestant on The Running Man, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to ICS Talent Hunt, care of your local affiliate, and then go out and do something really despicable! I'm Phil Hilton. Good night and take care!" See more »
Released just as Arnold Schwarzenegger was achieving megastar status, this film about stardom is a wry pun on his career and the media business around him. Films like these are not meant to be analysed, they are meant to be enjoyed, and THE RUNNING MAN certainly manages to do that.
After a shaky start involving the worst title sequence in the history of cinema (although it's good to see the Sinclair Spectrum finally get global use!), director Paul Michael Glaser presents an eye-popping glimpse at the television of tomorrow. This witty slice of sociological irony would have admittedly been slicker in the hands of regular Paul Verhoeven, but Glaser keeps the action flowing throughout, and presents us with some bizarrely fascinating villains as well as the usual action frolics. One query, though, is over the level of violence. Oddly enough there doesn't really seem to be enough. In a program where the broad concept is horrifically barbaric, Glaser seems reluctant to horrify us beyond the disappointing "see the blood spattering from the violence that's just off camera" and those awful rubber corpses! I do not wish to appear to be encouraging unnecessary violence, but in a comic-book film where 'gore is its core', not including it almost makes you feel that it is trying to take itself too seriously, and therefore makes it even more horrific. Perhaps this delicate subject is better explained by Paul Verhoeven in his excellent commentary to ROBOCOP (DVD Criterion Collection).
But the performances in THE RUNNING MAN are suitably solid, from the powerful Schwarzenegger to the sleazy game show host. Any fan of the 80s action genre will love this, so sit back and prepare for SHOWTIME!!!!!!
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