Dub Cee Reviews: The Running Man (1987)

Director: Paul Micheal Glaser

Writer(s): Stephen King (novel), Stephen E. de Souza (screenplay)

Ok people, if you are looking for top notch acting, a thought provoking story, and clever, witty dialogue…go read another review. I mean look at the image above and tell me why you keep reading if that is the criteria you want. Now, if you want violence, cheesy one-liners, and a hot chick is spandex…then follow me.

Running Man is based on the book by Richard Bachman…who we now know as Stephen King. In the not too distant future the government has total control over the airwaves. (So, they got that Fairness Doctrine passed after all.) Hands down the most popular show on the air is The Running Man. The show pits the undesirables of the world, i.e. killers, rapists, etc. against the Stalkers.

Now these Stalkers are kinda fun. Each one has a gimmick of some sort. For example, Dynamo sings opera while wielding electricity and Buzzsaw uses a chainsaw. The highlight of this group is NFL legend Jim Brown as Fireball.  Jesse Ventura is in there as well as the coming out of retirement Captain Freedom.

Arnold plays Ben Richards, a soldier framed for gunning down innocents.  He escapes from prison with two of his friends and of course they end up getting caught and forced to join in the Running Man game as well. We also have Maria Conchita Alonso who is just SMOKING HOT.  She works for the Network and is actually responsible for Arnold being captured in the first place. Then she screws up and learns the truth and voila she is in tight clothes for the rest of the movie. Thank you Mr. Director for this!

Honestly though, the highlight of the casting for me is Richard Dawson as the evil game show host. To the public he is perceived like he is to us when he was hosting the Family Feud. The loveable, charming, kiss stealing guy we all wished was our uncle. In actually he is just a sadistic bastard. It escaped me that the man actually has a rather impressive acting background before he landed the gig on Family Feud. Most notably his role on Hogan’s Heroes.

You want action? From literally the opening scene forward, bullets are firing and things are getting blown up and the one liners are everywhere. I counted at least 30 just from Arnold himself and the other cast members get some in there as well.

This movie is just entertaining fluff and I am perfectly ok with that. B+


6 Responses to “Dub Cee Reviews: The Running Man (1987)”

  1. The Running Man’s a Sci-Fi classic. A lot of films these days that parody the public’s love of reality television and violence have a lot to owe The Running Man. Series 7: The Contender and Gamer (Blech) spring to mine instantly. I love Arnold and I’ll always be a sucker for his films anyway.

  2. I think The Running Man was obviously pretty prescient and ahead of it’s time, but a lot of it doesn’t hold up very well. Like a good chunk of movies from this time period, it’s pretty horribly dated now. I think it’s still pretty fun, but some of it is cringe worthy.

  3. chainsawcheerleader Says:

    Growing up, my family and I were action hero junkies. I love Schwarzenegger and I love love love his 80’s action films. The Running Man is great. Its not Shakespeare but who cares? Good review, man.

  4. Here’s my problem with this flick. It’s not The Running Man.

    The Stephen King story it’s based on is unrecognizable from the movie. The story is awesome and when I heard it was going to be made into a film, I was stoked. And then this came out…

    On it’s own merits, it’s a perfectly acceptable piece of garbage action movie that lets you turn off your brain and enjoy it for what it is. The WWE style Stalkers are amusing and Arnold is vintage Arnold. I agree with Craig about Richard Dawson too. He was my favorite part of the film.

    It’s just not what I want it to be and someday, I hope the movie I want gets made.

  5. I agree with Pi here. I might have loved this movie if I hadn’t read the story. It fell flat for though. Honestly I’ve probably only seen this movie once. A long, long time ago. Your review makes me want to revisit it.

  6. Guillaume de Sade Says:

    I second that Pi…I read the book and stayed away from the movie until I finished it convinced that the movie was going to be just as awesome. Boy were my feelings hurt…I was expecting steak and got peanut M & M’s.

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