In the year 2017, the world economy has collapsed. The great freedoms of the United States are no longer, as the once great nation has sealed off its borders and become a militarized police state, censoring all film, art, literature, and communications. Even so, a small resistance force led by two revolutionaries manages to fight the oppression. With full control over the media, the government attempts to quell the nation's yearning for freedom by broadcasting a number of game shows on which convicted criminals fight for their lives. The most popular and sadistic of these programs is "The Running Man," hosted by Damon Killian. When a peaceful protest of starving citizens gathers in Bakersfield, California, a police officer named Ben Richards is ordered to fire on the crowd, which he refuses to do. Subdued by the other officers, the attack is carried out, and Richards is framed for the murder of almost a hundred unarmed civilians. Following a daring jail break months later, Richards is... Written by
Curly Q. Link
In the near future, Arnold stars as Ben Richards, a wrongly convicted man coerced into playing 'The Running Man', a deadly TV game show where people have to keep moving to try and escape brutal deaths at the hands of the 'Stalkers'. Of course, people are expected to die eventually and its up to Arnold to prove the system wrong.
I haven't read the Stephen King book, but this is a great film regardless, one of Arnold's best. He does what he does best in the action man role, delivering death with unforgettable one-liners. Classics are probably the 'He was a real pain in the neck' after strangling a guy with barb wire, and 'He had to split!', referring to whereabouts he just chain sawed someone vertically. Dawson is perfectly irritating as the TV presenter, and all the 'Stalkers' are suitably camp. The action is violent, but its an action film. That's the point. The film is fast paced, and at 90 minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome.
With Starsky and Hutch's Paul Michael Glaser at the helm, and made in the wake of the success of The Terminator, previously this film was probably seen as just another mindless action vehicle for Arnold, and very far fetched. But today, anyone who watches a lot of TV could see how the film is getting closer to reality. I wouldn't be surprised if I turn on the TV in the 'near future' and see a show not to far from this.
On that depressing note, I must however recommend 'The Running Man' to anyone who likes the 80s, Arnold, ridiculous acts or violence or just a good action film. 9. 5 / 10
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