Archive for February 10th, 2009

You know, I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger.    It’s the predictability factor; you can count on any Arnold Schwarzenegger movie having some bad puns and the requisite “I’ll be back” quote but there’s something comforting in that.   He’s like Old Reliable; you can watch almost any Schwarzenegger movie and feel like you’ll be somewhat entertained and there’s no nasty surprises headed your way.

The Running Man was the first Schwarzenegger movie I have any memory of seeing; I still love it as much as I love Terminator 2.  Of course, T2 is the far superior film as The Running Man is pretty much a piece of ’80’s glitzy crap that remains at the bottom of Schwarzenegger’s resume.   It’s a movie that’s often forgotten.

As an adult, I’d probably mock this one to no end.   You know, your childhood days have a funny way of affecting your views on movies though.  I remember watching this one on cable with Older Sister when we first got cable – when cable seemed like something so new and fancy that my sisters and I nearly died when my parents signed up for cable service.   I estimate that Older Sister and I ran through several hundred viewings of The Running Man over the years either on lazy weekend afternoons or sugar-fueled late nights.   It’s funny, because we never mocked The Running Man but yet Older Sister and I made running cracks out of every other Schwarzenegger movie.


These graphics were totally sophisticated. Er, for 1987. Can you tell?

The first thing you should know about The Running Man is that it’s based on a Stephen King book.   Granted, King wrote under his pseudonym Richard Bachman, but in my humble opinion, King starts out with a really good “What if?” kind of situation and gives it a great fleshing out.   Having a Stephen King story as your basis is a strong point.   It’s probably the best point of the movie, I think.

Of course, they changed it up from the original source material but… hey.


Okay, so basic plot outline time.   Think of your typical dystopian future and add in Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards, an Army type who refuses to fire on civilians during a food riot and is relieved of command, but not before his subordinates carry out orders to kill the rioters, which include innocent women and children.   Richards is carefully portrayed to be the rogue soldier who caused all this and he is thrown in prison.

While in prison, Richards meets up with Weiss, a techy type who’s a part of The Resistance (they’re resisting lots of things, but mainly it seems to be ICS, the main television network) and Laughlin, a hardened fighter.  The three escape prison and Richards takes a woman hostage and forces her to travel with him to Hawaii to complete his escape.   Unluckily for him, she manages to rat him out – but not before a TV producer and host notices the escape footage of Richards.  The TV host is Damon Killian, the face of the world’s most popular television show, The Running Man, and he’ll stop at nothing to get Richards on the show.


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