The Running Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Running Man Reviews

Page 3 of 153
½ July 3, 2015
Terrible acting, and not even in a nostalgic sort of way, embarrassing costumes and sets, and an ending that makes no freakin sense....oh and did I mention that there has to be at least 30 minutes of random dancers in those weird 80's aerobics outfits. They legitimately get more screen time than most of the characters. This is just a joke. Decent concept and it makes me interested in the book since it feels like Hunger Games meets V for Vendetta, but in no way worth anyone's time. There's a Russian opera singer gladiator who runs around in a diaper wearing a Light Bright, trying to kill people with his electric power suit....which sounds so ridiculous it should be awesome, but it gets REALLY lame really fast.
June 30, 2015
great old-school movie!!!
½ October 15, 2011
Featuring Schwarzenegger in his prime, the Running man does not have the lasting appeal of a Total Recall or a Predator despite a similarly intriguing plot. Perhaps the Arnold-centredness of it is to blame or the overt desire to push a satirical point about television while revelling in the same type of mindlessness that the movie seems to be making digs at (before this became cool in postmodern actioners like Kick ass). Nonetheless it is a competent 80s stock action movie with a spandex clad, anglo-named austrian spouting stupid one liners as gimmicky villains get offed in superlative MDK scenes. Good in my book.
June 3, 2015
its a great 80's arnold schwarzengger movie
June 2, 2015
Goofy and formulaic but still one hell of an entertaining film.
May 25, 2015
É uma brincadeira de arcade-game feito com imaginação.
É o ano de 2017. "The Running Man" é um jogo mortal ninguém jamais sobreviveu. Mas ..... mas Schwarzenegger ainda tem que jogar.
Bom Filme dos anos 80. 2017 é daqui a 2 anos o pode da TV será que vai ser desta forma..talvez não mas a manipulação e o controle dos povos essa está no filme.
½ May 22, 2015
"The Running Man" is basically a movie consisting of several Arnold's past quotes like "I'll be back" and so forth. The rush storyline and stupid characters make this 80's action movie laughable and ridiculous. It felt low budget too. I'm sure all B films are like that, but this goes too far. I had a great time laughing at the absurdity of it all, but this is just plain stupid.
½ May 21, 2015
The action setpieces are a bit of a letdown. But witnessing Arnold during his prime is at the very least entertaining. Other than the governator, The Running Man offers a great deal of 80's sillyness interspersed with some wry satire. I had a blast.
½ January 2, 2010
When people consider the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the films that get put up on the top shelf are generally The Terminator (1 and 2), Predator and Total Recall. Also highly regarded are True Lies and even Commando gets a fair amount of good will thrown towards it, if only jokingly. However, The Running Man seems to be considered by many to be one of Schwarzenegger's lesser films from his golden age.
However, I feel it's worthy of much more recognition than it gets.

The film deals with a number of issues. There is corruption, mass media saturation, control and manipulation of the population, censorship, private corporations controlling the military and the government, the dangers of technology, violence on TV, social inequality, the gap between rich and poor and of course reality TV. The film manages to include all of these elements, make comment on them, yet the film packages itself purely as a dumb action film. That is a great achievement, as the plot is never bogged down and the film moves at a great pace.

The film was originally going to star Christopher Reeve and was to be more based on the book written by Stephen King. But when Reeve left the project (to go and make Street Smart and Superman IV), Schwarzenegger was brought on board and the film was rewritten to suit Arnold's acting and character. However, what resulted was an Arnie film with some serious subplots and undertones that had been thoroughly fleshed out to suit a film starring an actor of Reeve's ability. The merger of the two is fantastic.
The idea of reality TV having a life or death game show seemed far fetched once upon a time, but as time goes on, it doesn't seem quite as far fetched. With the way reality TV works now, and how easily the media in todays world manipulates society, it is easier to image the world embracing this concept, if the world fell into chaos and disarray. The live 24 hour coverage of modern warfare only adds to this theory.

Schwarzenegger is fantastic in the role as Ben Richards. He has some great one liners, delivered with a really tasty layer of thick cheese that only Schwarzenegger could deliver without blinking. He is in his prime physically, but this role has little need for him to get his shirt off and look tough. Most of the film he is dressed in a bright yellow one piece leotard, in which he manages to still look menacing. Arnold knows the balance between humour and action but also works well against the other cast members.
He is joined by Maria Conchita Alonso, who later appeared in Predator 2, a film Schwarzenegger turned down. As Amber, she begins the film as part of the media machine, working as a composer for the network, which the Running Man is made by. It is somewhat convenient that she has moved into Richard's brother's apartment, just when he has broken out of prison. At first she is terrified by Richards, but she still maintains strength and gives Richards some sass as he tries to intimidate her. She retains this character well throughout the film, appearing attractive and feminie, but tough and not just a damsel in distress when she too is thrown into the game zone. Her character represents the oppressed society she is part of. She is tough and independent, but the tough and strict police state that society has become, means she must fall into line and behave in order to maintain any sort of life. But her feistiness fights its way through, and eventually leads her to question what is really going on, and that's when she ends up in trouble.

A most underrated performance comes from Richard Dawson, who ironically, was known as a game show host, as in real life, he hosted Family Feud throughout the 1980's. I was quite shocked when I discovered this as an adult, having seen him only in The Running Man since I was little, and then suddenly seeing him on YouTube hosting a real game show. As Killian, he is a ruthless, cold hearted, manipulative bastard, who can be really charming on camera, but very nasty off camera. He is brilliant in the role and holds his own against Schwarzenegger, despite being so physically tiny in comparison. He has amazing energy for the role, and his performance in the game show scenes (which are extensive), really makes it feel like this is a game show that has been on the air for a long time. It doesn't feel made up for the film, and his interactions with the audience are priceless.

But the game show is the real star. It's a fascinating concept. The stalkers are all very colourful, over the top and very entertaining. Buzzsaw represents middle America, with his big accent and his big chainsaw as he rides around on his big motorbike. The film even uses him to throw in a scene displaying celebrity worship. When Buzzsaw arrives at the studio, an excited fan pushes through the crowd and ends up in his way. Buzzsaw smashing him in the face, causing a nasty injury, yet the fan is simply exhilarated by the fact that he was touched by Buzzsaw, and is delighted despite the blood pouring from his face.
Sub Zero is also a favourite of mine, using another one of America's favourite past times, Ice Hockey, to attack the runners.
But of course, Jessie Ventura, in his second film with Arnie, having also starred brilliantly in Predator, is great as Captain Freedom, and it's a shame that he was underused as he provides great moments in every scene he is in.

The film has dated somewhat with its effects and its look, but the 1980's view of the future has a look that is unique to the period. The sets are great, and I really love the tunnel sequences as the runners are hurled into the game zone. There is great tension as the runners try to figure out how to safely navigate through the zone and the film manages to create a number of effective jump scares, whilst providing great action scenes. The cast clearly have fun, and whilst the film plays a lot of its moments very straight, it manages to keep things just light enough, with its tongue nicely poised near its cheek for any moment that it needs to put it in there.
The film clearly influenced films such as The Hunger Games (as did Battle Royal) and whilst the film in no way resembles the book it was based on, it took a number of great themes from the book and made a delightful sandwich with many layers that blend together nicely.
½ May 14, 2015
Hard to believe I haven't seen this until now. Classic 80's Arnold takes part in a pre-Battle Royale(pre-pre Hunger Games) type of event and it's filled with cheesy quips and funny, over the top kills. Plus Jim Brown as one of the bad guys, hah.. it's entertaining I'll give you that, but not up to par with Commando, Terminator or Predator(but better than Conan).
April 27, 2015
I enjoyed this. Decent effects. Good story. Cheesy Schwarzenegger one liners. It's all good.
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!
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