The Running Man Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 19, 2007
In this futuristic world, it's 2017 and The United States government has collapsed. Along with the government, gone are personal freedoms, including freedom of speech. The smallest infraction can get a person thrown into a prison work camp for life, with their only refuge being the worlds most popular TV game show, The Running Man. Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is a member of the new military police force. When he's ordered to fire on a group of unarmed civilians and refuses, he's locked away. Following a brief escape, Richards is recaptured and chosen for The Running Man game show, where he can compete for a chance at freedom. In the 1980s, adding Arnold Schwarzenegger's name to an action film meant big bucks for the studio, but not all those movies were worth watching. The Running Man, however, was one of his better films, as Arnold plays a role that was seemingly perfect for him. The film, based on a book by Stephen King, is of course very well written, and features a lot more than simply the game and the man trying to win it. Even Schwarzengger himself was quoted as saying the film was good, but didn't do the book justice. Having not read the book, I can't say either way, but regardless, I did enjoy the story I saw. It was extremely unique and a whole lot of fun. As I said Arnold was perfect for the part of Richards. His Co-star, Maria Conchita Alonso, was the complete opposite, as clearly she was picked for her looks and popularity at the time. Besides hardly being able to understand her, she doesn't seem like a woman who is in this huge fight of her life, she's making jokes and trying to be sexy in situations that certainly don't call for it. I really wasn't impressed by her at all, but it doesn't hurt the film all that much. Doing an adaptation of a Stephen King novel is a Herculean task, given the fact that even his short novels are routinely 500 pages or more. Of course there were plenty of things that had to be excluded, but even so, I thought they did an excellent job of both screen writing and casting. The Running Man may not be that shocking or unique in 2017, but in 1987 it pushed the limits and thrilled audiences. While the shock may have been lost over time, the thrill and excitement are still there and easily makes the film a must see classic!
April 9, 2015
This movie is very entertaining and campy.
½ April 8, 2015
Mild Arnold actin movie that's flat in places with no big moment.....average fare.
March 22, 2015
This wasn't as good as I was hoping, but it was decent for an older movie.
March 11, 2015
I like the statement it makes more than the movie itself. But points are scored for the unique "stalkers" and Jesse Ventura!
½ February 23, 2015
A fun, dumb film bolstered by great performances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Dawson (Who plays a sadistic, evil Bob Barker type). Not Arnold's best film, but still worth a watch.
February 9, 2015
A movie that has definitely aged and not for the best. The Running Man is based on a short story by Stephen King under a pseudo name. Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a wrongly accused helicopter pilot that is thrown into a game show called the Running Man hosted by sadistic and greedy host Damon Killian (Richard Dawson). The show is basically a game show where prisoners make it through obstacles, but the real reality behind the show is that its basically a public execution disguised as a game show. Richards must survive the show and prove his innocence. Overall, this is another 80's cheesy Arnold action flick. I knew this coming in, but it still was a bit too dated for me. The film actually has a pretty good little message about American's obsession with violence and television shows...something that is still relevant today. Unfortunately, the film is just a bunch of action scenes between the plot showing off Arnold's prowess at killing people. The film has some great cheesy one liners, but this is definitely not a favorite of mine. If you've never seen it like I hadn't this might be worth a look if you're a Schwarzenegger fan!
½ December 18, 2008
They were on some serious stuff in the 80`s
½ May 8, 2008
Typical Schwarzenegger cheese that's filled to the brim with one-liners.
January 12, 2015
El fugitivo o el sobreviviente en Latinoamérica, es una de las películas que hizo Arnold mientras aprovechaba la inercia de Commando, Terminator o Depredador, entre otras películas que hacción que hizo en los 80's. La película, según dice al principio, está basada en la novela del mismo nombre cuyo autor es Richard Bachman, seudónimo que usara Stephen King para otra de sus novelas. Aunque no se parece al libro, sí pinta un futuro distópico en el que, como también comenta al inicio, la economía mundial y el orden público son muy distintos y la gente busca sobrevivir mediante los concursos televisivos en el año 2025. La película por lo menos tiene ciertos adelantos para su época como el uso de pases digitales, computadoras personales en cada casa y sobretodo que sigue vigente el hecho de que en países como México se siga poniendo más atención a la televisión y que esta y sus programas de concurso, también cada vez más extremos, siguen avnzando y dominando el mercado, con una que otra excepción a la fecha de la escritura de esta mini-crítica. Es pues una película que aún pudiera considerarse como futurista.
Como cinta de acción también está interesante, no aburre ni aunque pasen 20 años de haberla visto.
Lo malo es que está llena de frases trilladas, como la reconocida de Terminator "I'll be back" que parece que desde entonces Arnold no desaprovecha de mencionarla en otra de sus cintas. Eso además de malas actuaciones que parecen ser requisito para las cintas de este entonces.
Véala si busca solo acción y aventuras con algo de gore y un poco de ciencia ficción aplicada a la época actual a ver qué tan diferentes cree que estamos con respecto a esa propuesta.
January 7, 2015
A great 80's movie that doesn't quite make the grade any later than 1989!
Pretty standard acting by everyone, although Richard Dawson is brilliant as Killian.
August 19, 2013
Before Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, there was The Running Man... expect here, we get hilarious Arnold one liners.
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2007
Probably the first Arnie vehicle I ever saw as a kid and even then I thought it was average. Yes I know this could be seen as heresy but I must confess to never thinking a great deal about this film despite being a life long Arnie fan.

We all know the score with this film by now. The plot is based loosely on a Stephen King novel which is all about America being a police or totalitarian state, huge divides between the rich and the poor and of course death and violence being a popular much watched sport on TV. So basically a futuristic view on the ancient Roman civilisation and their bloody culture.

If you think about it its the perfect role for Arnie and various other muscle men just like many other Arnie films, this film pretty much started that craze. Today this kind of story is completely unoriginal but back then it was almost the first of its kind. To be fair its a videogame adaptation all the way, Arnie's character must face each stalker one by one, each has their own unique skill or weapon and they all have their personal level or stage as it were. Guess what Sub Zero's stage looks like?

The stalkers are pretty cliched and generic now when you look back, Fireball Sub Zero Dynamo Buzzsaw and Captain Freedom, not hard to figure out what they all do...accept for Freedom perhaps. A pumped bunch to say the least, Ventura looks full on steroids with his silly wig whilst Brown has a ridiculous wig himself (I think). The other stalker cast members aren't as famous accept for Charles Kalani Jr. perhaps but 80's female action sidekick regular María Conchita Alonso alongside Yaphet Kotto hold their own.

Of course the film is made by the excellent performance of Richard Dawson who takes a creepy direction on what was his current job at the time as a gameshow host. Not only does Dawson ham it up nicely but he adds a very eerie, sadistic, two faced approach to the role. Its actually quite fun to watch him crawl and grovel to the audience. A real slime ball deviously charming the gullible live audience, whilst virtually blackmailing them for their trust and ratings by lavishing easy prizes upon them with seemingly genuine generosity. It did make you wonder if this was how real gameshow hosts behaved behind closed doors but I imagine that was the goal.

The film does look pretty cheap, it did even back then. Sets are not much more than big empty spaces with stark lighting effects and piles of rubble everywhere. Hell even the costumes look like they've been handmade by the cast themselves. Lots of spandex, a basic ice hockey uniform, lots of leather n chains for background thugs and the most bizarre concept for Dynamo who is covered in what looks like Christmas tree lights stuck on transparent plastic body sections. Why does he sing opera? judging by his helmet its a homage or calling to 'Ride of the Valkyries' and the character is clearly trying to impose fear and terror on his pending victims as he rides his buggy thing into battle. Doesn't work too well though huh.

Quick one for you, who on earth knows what Captain Freedom's outfit was suppose to do or be? looked like something out of He-Man.

There's a lot more hinting at moments than actual visual sequences but there is the odd classic moment. I'm sure everyone recalls the infamous head explosion sequence, the ultra fast toboggan thing that transports Arnie down to the gauntlet game zone and Arnie slamming a pen into some scrawny pen pushing suits back...wince moment...ouch!

Its your classic dystopian futuristic 80's action flick obviously, with the classic update of gladiatorial battles for the blood thirsty masses. Many have copied it but clearly this borrowed from other sources also ('Escape from New York' visually). Jammed packed with all the Arnie one liners you could want, dancing big haired blondes, some good bloody moments and a perfectly sleazy performance by real ex-gameshow host Dawson as the manipulative gameshow host Killian (nasty sounding name also).

Predictable of course but its fun to watch the audience and viewers slowly get behind Richards as he defeats the stalkers one at a time. Watching Killian and his yes men squirm as they know Richards is coming to get them. A bit silly how this one act of rebellion seems to bring down the whole corrupt system as the resistance starts to broadcast the truth and everybody just believes it straight away but hey...its an Arnie film.

'I told Killian I'd be back. I wouldn't want to be a liar'
½ November 22, 2014
Faisant partie des nombreux films d'anticipation 80's-90's avec Schwarzenegger en protagoniste principall qui casse des bras et lâche des one-liners, The Running Man se range dans la catégorie "réussi" grâce à un second degré constamment assumé et des seconds rôles sympathiques comme Maria Conchita Alonso ou Yaphet Kotto. Schwarzy est lui bien évidemment parfait dans son rôle très unidimensionnel. Le film est cependant un peu long, extrêmement daté, assez répétitif et surtout pas très beau visuellement. Un bon divertissement, mais rien de plus.
November 1, 2014
Completely and adequately serviceable Schwarzenegger film.
January 19, 2011
Didn't hold up as well as I expected but still better then a lot of crap they are releasing today and rebooting.
½ September 2, 2014
The original "Battle Royal" and "Hunger Games" for an older generation, "The Running Man" is a container of many quotable lines and an enjoyable Schwarzenegger display.
August 27, 2014
The birth of reality tv.
July 25, 2012
When you make a Stephen King novel (using his alias Richard Bachman) into a movie and then put Arnold in it, you cannot lose! Arnold smashes up all aspects of the Running Man game show.
February 18, 2013
Campy yet violently fun.
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