The opening credits are amazing! It starts with a great "swosh" sound effect and then angular formed men run in 3D. Then comes the movie title, where the font is very pixel like. 'The Running Man'!
Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Ben Richards, is immediately shown as a good guy. He's a pilot who refuses to obey an order that would've resulted in the deaths of 1500 civilians. But the year 2019 is not like now, times are different and Arnie finds himself in a prison, named as the "Butcher of Bakersfield" with an explosive collar and a beard...
There are so many memorable and amazing scenes in the movie. One of my favourites are the one where Arnie helps the Buzzsaw stalker reach the high note by cutting him in half with a chainsaw. Who wouldn't wanna do that? Just kidding but these scenes are so written for Arnie.
"What happened to Buzzsaw?
- He had to split."
Steven E. de Souza, the screenwriter who reached the peak of his career in the 80's with such action classics as 'Commando', 'Die Hard', 'Die Hard 2' and the '48 hours' movies knows how to write dialogue that fit Arnie perfectly. One of the reasons why Arnie became such a macho idol is that films helped him become that. Like one scene in this movie:
"Oh yeah? But why should I?
- Because I'm going to say please."
Then Arnie rips up a fitness equipment that's bolted to the floor. Simple, effective and very macho. There's no arguing there.
It's funny to see that the world has changed but the clothing has stayed the same although it's the year 2019. People look and sound as people from the 80's. I don't mind that, I actually think it's funny.
Arnie performs well, of course. There's no reason to hide that I've always been a huge fan of his action movies. But 'The Running Man' also has one of my favourite, now pretty much forgotten, latin actresses of all time; Maria Conchita Alonso. There aren't that many films I've seen where she is one of the leads, 'Moscow on the Hudson' and 'Colors' come to mind now. Hope that she'll have some good roles in the future, it's just sad that women in their fifties have trouble finding them...
In over 20 years, the film has obviously lost some of its effectiveness. One of the films points is to show the impact of TV violence on people. Who knows, today these stupid reality TV shows are aiming to reach higher audiences with all kind of stupid topics, so if the world situation would resemble anything like in the movie in the distant future, a show similar to 'The Running Man' may hit the TV screen. Hope not.
'The Running Man', based on a Stephen King novel, is one of Arnie's films that never reached the same status as his most well known films like 'Predator', 'Terminator' etc. In my opinion, the film is simply a great piece of 80's action with cheesy dialogue, nice performances, beefed up males and a hot latino. Entertainment, that's all. Simple as that.
"Use my back, victim.
- Don't forget to send me my copy."