Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by
Never managing to look more hi-tech or further on from 1987 than, well, Hi-tech trainers, this Arnie vehicle still runs it's bloody course without dropping many gears. A brainless, breathless thrill.
Has the manners and the gadgetry of a sci-fi adventure film but is, at heart, an engagingly mean, cruel, nasty, funny send-up of television. It's not quite Network, but then it also doesn't take itself too seriously.
The one element in the movie that is not standard and that does have some energy is the TV show itself, with Dawson's performance as the egotistical, sleaze-bag host.
For the right audience, it'll be fun. It's for action movie fans with a taste for something off the beaten track -- but not too far. And for people who like to rail and spew against the vulgarity and stupidity of TV -- but keep watching it all anyway.
Once things get going, The Running Man just turns into a silly chase movie populated by baddies who look like B-level pro-wrestling villains.
Chicago Tribune
Dawson, though, burrows into his role with all the zeal of a perennial second banana recognizing the opportunity of a lifetime. It's the one naturalistic performance in this cartoonish film, carrying with it the implicit authority of years of firsthand experience shaped, perhaps, by some late-night introspection. [13 Nov 1987, p.B]
With a wholly derivative concept, confused scripting, and incredibly sloppy direction, THE RUNNING MAN is a frustrating experience.
Format works only on a pure action level, with some exciting, but overly repetitious, roller-coaster style sequences of runners hurtling into the game through tunnels on futuristic sleds. Schwarzenegger sadistically dispatches the baddies, enunciating typical wisecrack remarks (many repeated from his previous films), but it’s all too easy, despite the casting of such powerful presences as Jim Brown and former wrestlers Jesse Ventura and Prof. Toru Tanaka.
The film doesn't look good; it's as if the flat lighting and boring set of the TV show had infected everything else. And Big Arnie's quilted outfit makes him look like a duvet.
You want to know if The Running Man is a good-time macho show, right? Stay at home and watch professional wrestling. Or Miami Vice (same director -- Paul Michael Glaser). Sure there's blood spattering and bullets riddling and Big Boys Banging Biceps. But through the dry-ice haze, Running Man is surprisingly boring.

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