The Running Man Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.