The Running Man,1987,USA
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonoso & Yaphet Kotto
Ben Richards: I've seen you before. You're the asshole on TV.
Damon Killian: That's funny. I was going to say the same thing about you.
Film #54 of The December Project
I always used to chuckle at the fact that there is a film based on a novel by Stephen King that's stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, it just seems incomprehensible to me for whatever reason, but alas 'The Running Man' is that film. This is one I have never got around to seeing,but have always had a slight interest in doing so, I was hoping to enjoy it due to AHNOLD'S entertainment factor.
Ben Richards is a military pilot who refused to be part of slaughtering innocent people due to military command, Richards is then framed and the responsibility has been placed entirely on him. The most popular television program in 2019, a TV show where convicted felons are given a chance at freedom but must survive almost certain death, in the form of human hunting. Richards is enlisted into the show and along with a few friends must find a way to survive.
'The Running Man' is an 80's popcorn film at its most glaringly obvious. The film personifies the Arnold action comedy that we have all come to know and love. Filled to its brim with classic one liners (''Killian, here's your Subzero, now plain zero.'') and of course the classic physicality and action set pieces. We can all admit that Arnie was never a capable actor, but he has always been undeniably entertaining, and he presence in 'The Running Man' is no different.
I have never really been a fan of films being called 'Dated' or even 'Old', I mean every film personifies the date and time in which it was made right ? and even in our modern times films should be enjoyed and appreciated from that standpoint, but in the case of 'The Running Man' this film has to be referred to as dated seeing as it is attempting to portray the years 2017 till 2019, its hilarious at watch what the filmmakers envision people to be like in the near future. If this is what our society will become in the next five years, I will be thoroughly concerned and frightened, what blood Hungary asshole we will be. I'm sure the film is intending to be just a little more prophetic, but its message has obviously been lost in shuffle and just comes off as humorous now.
I'm sure King's novel is more frightening and intelligent (I wonder what he thinks of the film), but the screenplay by Steven E. de Souza is not, It feels like he writing was completely in the moment and was not thinking at all about the future, ironic seeing as that is where the film takes place.
The set design is gloriously campy, with plenty of flashing lights and desolate landscapes, it always looks fun and triptasic. The costumes feel straight out of 'Mad Max' and look hilarious most of the time. The editing is chaotic and frantic, and the pacing can honestly drag sometimes, but its nothing overly bad.
Arnold is at his most entertaining here, the one lines are constantly hilarious and the physical gags are great (''He had to split.'') His easily the most entertaining aspect of the film, everyone pretty much just phones it in (can you blame them ?), It also cool to Jesse Ventura, because he is the man! and he also co-starred with Arnie in 'Predator' the same year.
'The Running Man' was an enjoyable film, It is so overly camp with a heavily misplaced prophetic aspect but in this day in age it comes of as a mindless action film. A lot of really funny humor throughout and plenty of Acton to boot. A fun watch but nothing you need to go out of your way to see.