The Running Man Reviews
The Running Man is one hell of an entertaining movie. Made in a very dated style with biting satire, its campy and action-packed, and it works.
The satire is right on with our love of reality television, even echoing the Price is Right. It definitely differs from the source material by Stephen King (as Richard Bachmann), but it manages to make the best with what it has.
Written by Commando screenwriter Steven E. DeSouza, The Running Man is guilty pleasure movie that blends science fiction, corny one-liners, and a whole lot of bravado. I consider The Running Man an action movie classic.
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.
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.