Ahh Arnold, corny and campy 80's action movies aren't quite the same without you or Sly or even Dolph hanging around and this one about a violent game show which puts prisoners through a gauntlet of killers for prizes and freedom is right in the middle.
Arnie is Ben Richards a cop in a dystopian future who after refusing to machine gun a hungry mob is taken into custody by his military supieriors and sentanced to a labor prison. After escaping with members of the underground resistence trying to fight the police state, Arnie goes home to his brother to get him out of the country. Instead of finding his brother, he finds extremely hot ass kicking Cuban babe played by Maria Conchita Alonso who he uses to help him, but after his escape goes bad, Ben is captured and brought before the host of the Rnning Man gameshow, a slimy guy who kisses the women in attendance on his show played by Richard Dawson (not a big stretch).
Ben must play the Running Man or have the friends who got him and awe, Ben is double crossed as his friends must fight for they're literal lives against guys who are all psychotic pro wrestler types who are gimmicky and or overly hammy like a fat rockstar type who kills with a chainsaw or a hockey player with a razor sharp stick.
Throughout the movie we are reminded of what a sick society this is, one that has overly normal people that you could meet any day enjoy watching literal blood sports on TV or where *GASP* we find out that the media makes you stupid and not to trust it. As long as people continue to have pretty packages dolled out to them and are entertained, they will shut they're yap I guess. It's layed on thick and has the it's asking a lot of an 80's Arnie movie. Not only that, it's not even done that great.
What is great? The action. Once the game starts, it doesn't let up much at all and Arnold quips almost every few seconds, almost as bad as Roger Moore's James Bond too. If you want Arnold doing awesome stuff like he's known for doing in movies, you'll like this one more. If I didn't imply before, Maria is a honey and a great character in her own right when she realizes that shes being manipulated. Richard Dawson....what can I say, he's Richard Dawson except evil but part of that "tell me something I didn't know" aspect to the social message has a big part of being layed at his feet towards the end. Oh, and it's always cool to see Jesse Ventura.
Running Man is fast, funny and goes for something to say-thats for sure but what got me is two things. One is that this wasn't the first nor is it the last dystopion the media makes you stupid movies where TV will pollute you're mind and don't trust anything you see it isn't new and anyone who has 2 brain cells to rub together knew this already.
The second part though is the ENDING. WIthout giving much away, Arnold lives (really-in an 80's action movie he lives? yeahnoshit!) Arnold has escaped the Stalkers, tore up the set of the gameshow and he gets Maria. Thats it. One gameshow gone isn't going to change the world Arnold. It won't stop more helicopters gunning down rioting mobs of hungry civilians or the myriad of other wrongs in this world and it DOESN'T even change the fact that Arnold is still wanted unless the conveniently edited tapes of his true actions is all a judge would need in that future world Maybe I'm over thinking this 80's action movie. Well, it's the movie's own fault since it was trying to make me think in the first place.
80's action movie with Arnie spewing more Bond one liners then you can count as he is put on a sadistic gameshow to fight for his life in a dystopion future. Entertaining for sure with it's warning about media control in our lives thrown in for good measure but the finale is overlayed with a feel good ending even though nothing has really changed for the better.
Much like the other Schwarzenegger movie Commando (1985), this is a fine example of a "feel good" action movie. If you're having a bad day, this movie will cheer you up. The 80's interpretation of the future is worth a good chuckle, and the action and one-liners really make it feel at home with other 80's action films.
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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