The Running Man Reviews
"The Running Man" is not one of Arnold Schwarzenegger´s best ones, but the film has it moments for sure. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself thought Paul Michael Glaser was a terrible choice to direct, with Glaser coming from a TV background, and having no film experience as a director at all. He thought Glaser shot this film like a TV show, losing all of the script's deeper themes, and I can only agree with that. The film has a looming feeling of a tv-film all over the production. The film is loosely based on the 1982 novel of the same name written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. What I do like about "The Running Man" is the portray of a realistic and futuristic tale of reality TV gone bonkers with a nod to the old roman gladiator games and the thirst for blood and mayhem. The satire is high and the scary message that the Government and the media are in cahoots is something that is always current. Yes, the script has a very typical Arnold formula and we get some classic Arnold one-liners during the film. The action is ok and the ensemble ok, while the production, acting and dialogue is a bit more so so. Nice to see a radiant María Conchita Alonso and a pleasure to see Jesse Ventura going over the top as Captain Freedom.
Trivia: Prior to Paul Michael Glaser being hired as director, executive producer Rob Cohen had hired four other directors in his attempts to make the movie. The first was George P. Cosmatos, who had impressed Cohen with his work on Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). However, when Cosmatos announced that he wanted to relocate the entire film to a shopping mall, Cohen let him go, feeling that Cosmatos was taking the script in an unacceptable direction. Cohen next offered the project to German director Carl Schenkel, having been impressed with Abwärts (1984), but Schenkel turned him down as he didn't feel comfortable taking on such a large project. Next, Cohen hired Ferdinand Fairfax, based upon his work on Savage Islands (1983). Like Cosmatos, however, Fairfax began to take the screenplay in a direction which Cohen disliked, so once again, he let him go. Cohen then turned to Andrew Davis, having enjoyed Davis' movie Code of Silence (1985). Davis actually got the project off the ground and into production, but only eight days into the shoot, he was already $8 million over budget and four days behind schedule. As such Cohen let Davis go, and ultimately hired Glaser, whom he had worked with on the first season of Miami Vice (1984).
Though its cast and set pieces are undeniably impressive, cringy dialogue and a clichéd, boring script let down The Running Man.
He delivers his lines terribly in this film, showing no signs of emotion. But that's part of the fun, he still does a great job in the action sequences and just has tons of charisma, it almost seems like it's enough to carry the film. Sadly it's not.
The film is poorly written, doesn't set up a believable world, or have much world building, and is haphazardly directed. The special effects in the film also look very dated.
If you wanna see Arnold kill people, blow stuff up, and spout cheesy one liners (this film does have quite a few) there are far better choices available. Skip this one.