The Running Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Running Man Reviews

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½ January 4, 2017
An entertaining Arnie movie that never tries to be anything more than what it is. Pure, straight-forward sci-fi escapism that manages to do pretty well to look as good as it does given it's budget. Not amongst Arnies best but far from his worst.
December 26, 2016
The Running Man has your typical Schwarzenegger fun, along with a fun story- but the film just feels lacking compared to other Schwarzenegger action flicks. There's some good commentary, not so good characters, and lovely 80's moments.
½ October 30, 2016
One of Arnold's best. Nuff Said.
½ October 7, 2016
Every time I watch a movie of this kind, let's say scifi although not heavy scifi, from the eighties, I always find those atmospheres that make it so classic. I don't know if it's a plus or a minus, maybe the second because it signals a lack of unicity in the product, but I like it a lot. Also in this case, although probably the movie was not that good, surely increased my opinion on it. Another plus is because in that period they always tried to create something new, and most of what came after has been inspired by late eighties movies.
½ September 30, 2016
Cheesy from the get-go, "The Running Man" is a masturbatory Arnie vehicle that has earned it's cult status for being funny when it wasn't trying to be. It's more '80's novelty than it is good film.
September 10, 2016
The definition of an 80's Arnie action movie, with all the gruesome deaths and cheesy one-liners you can handle.
August 20, 2016
It's cheesy, it's charming, it's over the top, it's exactly what you expect from an 80's action film with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The characters in this film besides the lead Ben Richards are underdeveloped, the story is as unbelievable as is standard for a concept like this, but in the end there is something about this film in which it's cheesy campy 80's nature doesn't detract from it too much. You won't be missing much by skipping this film, but if you're an Arnold fan you must watch this for his cheesy one liners alone.
August 12, 2016
A Schwarzenegger classic, but small compaired to other of his stuff like Predator (1978), or The Terminator (1984). But still, it's an entertaining and full of action movie, with good performances and pleasant visual effects and this film, especialy during the climax, is really colorful sometimes, but also feels a little saturated. It's not Arnold's main masterpiece, but still. Recommended !!
August 8, 2016
Only 60% approval? This is about as fun an Arnold movie as any.
½ July 29, 2016
good sci-fi actioner
July 11, 2016
The themes in "The Running Man" of media manipulation and the convergence of news and entertainment are even more relevant today than they were back in 1987. However, this is really just a silly action movie filled with dopey one-liners that happens to have a few interesting ideas behind it, mostly thanks to it's source material from the Stephen King novel (written as Richard Bachman) and dos to the blame goes to screenwriter Steven E. de Souza, who brought us countless dopey action films including "Judge Dredd," "Hudson Hawk" and "Streetfighter" (though in fairness he was a writer on "Die Hard" and 48hrs, although those films had several co-writers). Set in a future where convicts are given a chance a having their sentence commuted by appearing on a life-or-death game show, Arnold finds himself wrongly accused of slaughtering peaceful unarmed protesters (Arnold was actually arrested for refusing to gun down the protestors). The TV game show host is played by real-life TV game show host Richard Dawson, and he's one of the best parts of this film. Dawson put Arnold and a couple other wrongly accused convicts (Maria Conchita Alonso and Yaphet Kotto) put against different "Stalkers" which then plays out as game show inspired action set pieces. Some of the Stalkers are played by Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, Professor, and Toru Tanaka. The main weakness of the film is that the action is not particularly memorable or exciting. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser (you know, the guy who played Starsky) the action is competently made, but nothing spectacular. Glaser was apparently called in at the last minute to direct the film when the original direction and producer had a falling out. Another low point is the film being filled will loads of dopey one-liners for Arnold. There are some clever moments in the script, like when Dawson make a phone call and says, "Get me the Justice Department, Entertainment Division." But most of the one-liners are straight of the a Simpsons episode featuring McBain. But in the film's favor, there is an interesting subtext that makes the story a bit more interesting that most 80s action films (i.e. "Cobra," "Commando," etc.). However, this film really doesn't develop or explore those themes to any great extent and the film misses an opportunity. "Battle Royale" basically ripped off this film's premiss and themes, and made a much smarter and also more suspenseful, exciting, and shocking of film. However, to give credit where credit is due, "Rollerball" was likely the real originator of this story and themes of media, violence, power and control back in 1975, though these films also owes a debt to the 1932 film "The Most Dangerous Game" where innocent people were hunted for entertainment and sport. "The Running Man" does feature Mick Fleetwood in his acting debut and you also have a very 80s looking Dweezil Zappa, and underrated crime author Edward Bunker, and Arnold's good buddy Sven-Ole Thorsen playing a character named Sven. There's also a solid Harold Faltermeyer, but overall, this film is a real missed opportunity that could have been done a whole lot better. This is a film that I'd think is ripe for a remake. It's not a classic sacred cow, like trying to remake "The Terminator," but it does have some good material that would be just as relevant, if not more so, today. And if they did it, Arnold should play the Dawson game show host character. Overall, this is a solid story concept that manages to carry dopey script and rather average action sequences.
June 13, 2016
Is it just me, or did this movie inspire the hunger games? Overall, great movie, great practical effects, and story. Two thumbs-up! Unless you have more thumbs.
May 16, 2016
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.
½ May 4, 2016
I've got to admit, I didn't know what to expect with this specific installment in Arnold's filmography, but I did like it. Let's go over the pros and cons.

The actors do a pretty decent job with what they have, Arnold has some very good and very well timed one-liners in The Running Man, "Family Feud", "Hogan's Heroes", and "Match Game" alumni Richard Dawson actually is one of the most entertaining villains in any of Schwarzenegger's movies, and this was Dawson's only major film role. Arnold and Dawson played off each other very well. The evil game show host vs. the honest badass contestant (also keep in mind, Arnold was on Chuck Barris's "The Dating Game", so this is not his first "game show" appearance). My favorite is when Arnold tells Dawson, "I'll be back!" only for the guy to counter with, "Only in a rerun." Also, where else will you get to see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura trade blows?
I liked the 80's music for nostalgic reasons (this will sound odd, but it's because it reminds me of my early years and the music from the Sonic the Hedgehog series on the Genesis).
The action sequences are a lot of fun. This is one of those movies where Arnold Schwarzenegger gets to be a pretty nasty guy and kill the Stalkers after him in rather unpleasant ways.
And overall, it was a fun ride while it lasted.

I think outside of the interactions between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Dawson, the story and characters are weak. There really isn't any chemistry between Schwarzenegger and Maria Conchita Alonso, and the end kiss between them is completely cliché for action movies, considering they have NO romantic interactions at all throughout the movie (she's his hostage in the first act, and a comrade runner in the third act. Not good material for a love interest). I did since some buddy-buddy relationships between Arnold and the two redshirts that are dropped into the game with him, but it's still not strong. And I couldn't really care for how Arnold was framed for the mass murder at the beginning of the movie or for the fascist world The Running Man took place in.
While the scenes in the game studio and in each of the fighting arenas was entertaining, the lead-up to each of these scenes is slow. It's called The Running Man, not the Walking And Talking Man. The waits should have been good places to set up suspense like in a horror movie, but there is as much deadly suspense in The Running Man as there would be in a "Winnie The Pooh" short. For an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, that's just no good.
I DID say I liked the music for nostalgic reasons, but said music isn't memorable.
And I think the game zone was too dark and not varied enough. I know the 80's had a thing with dark settings and bright lights, but it gets old.

Overall, I think The Running Man is an okay movie, and worth renting at least once if you're a game show or Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, but it's not his greatest work. Still, I had a good time watching this, and I may revisit it at some point. We'll see.
April 26, 2016
I love the look of the future back in 80s movies, and The Running Man has to be the most 80s-looking future I've ever seen. There's some serious camp in this film and I imagine people who didn't grow up in my generation would find it too silly to enjoy. I actually have fun with the over-the-top nature of the movie, and think it just adds to the story. The world they created in this film is one that might be a little off in its prediction of the future, but not as much as the writers probably expected. We might not be watching people actually being killed on reality TV, but consistent public humiliation of people is featured on TV every single night for our entertainment. Schwarzenegger is great in the lead role, and he is definitely convincing as a man who could easily fight back against the game. My only problem with him is that he can't really pull off the sadness you'd expect when he loses his companions. He moves on too quick and easily. But when we look at the cast, I honestly struggle to think of someone who was better casting than Richard Dawson. His experience on actual game shows makes him an ideal person for the role. And what surprised me was how perfectly he captured the behind-the-scenes persona who cares more about ratings than human life. He is the perfect characterization of someone who we can hate, but believe that the home audience would love. The story of The Running Man is more fun than it has any right to be, and somehow I can overlook a lot of the logical inconsistencies in it. This is a movie that was perfect for my generation, and even though I'm seeing it for the first time nearly 30 years after its original release, I still enjoyed it a lot.
½ April 19, 2016
Finally watched this from start to finish and it is pretty damn bad. I am sure back when it came out it was a bit better for a sci-fi film but it now is generic and along with the horrible acting it is enjoyable for the hilarity of corny one liners and cheesiness.
April 18, 2016
The Running Man is classic Arnold - jam packed with cheesy acting, the classic one liners, and plenty of action - this time, actually fulfilling a decent overall story but filled with a bland, dark atmosphere and feel.
In 2019, Ben Richards is wrongfully accused of killing hundreds of innocent civillians, forced to participate in America's top rated television show The Running Man, a deadly gladiator combat oriented game show hosted by the slimy Killian. Arnold and his friends must fight for themselves against numerous "stalkers" and killers.
The Running Man is just average. Nothing too special about it and not too much to say, it's decent but rather forgettable. Arnold delivers on his consistent badass performance yet again, playing the same kind of role in almost every action film he's in, but the other actors are a bit iffy - Richard Dawson is charming and hilarious and definitely stole the show. The Running Man has a compelling and interesting plot that isn't just an excuse for action eye candy and Arnold. However, the overall plot seems fine until it actually unravels its atmosphere - it feels very dark and even desolate, sort of, and gives off depressing vibes. Despite its promising overall storyline, an hour and a half of it can get very tiring and there's better Arnold scenarios under the same schtick out there. If you're looking for classic Arnold, The Running Man is for you - if you're looking for a classic action film, go for Terminator.
April 17, 2016
The Running Man (1987) ?? 1/2
Wrongly convicted Arnold Schwarzenegger must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show (sort of a futuristic "Most Dangerous Game" story). Trashy action movie is aided (greatly) by Richard Dawson as game-show host. Available on Netflix.
April 10, 2016
George Orwell gets the Arnie treatment. So funny to think that it is set a year from now. Some good kills and text book one liners from schwarzenegger. Love the Carpenteresque score and the bad guy Killian is such a cunt.
½ April 8, 2016
It's crazy how much this is like an 80s Hunger Game starring Ahnold. Love it.
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