The Running Man is a perfect example of a horribly made film that is incredibly entertaining. It is also a nostalgia-type film, a film that I saw as a child and loved that doesn’t hold up as well nowadays as it did in the late ’80’s. Of course, the late ’80’s were a time when action films were hits of the day, and they didn’t use WWE superstars as surrogates for real men’s men. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the king (his comeback from the Governator is imminent), and this was made in his heyday.
When Richards refuses to obey an order to fire on innocent civilians during a food riot, he is framed for doing it and sent to prison. After a daring escape, he is quickly recaptured and forced to compete in the sadistic game show called ‘The Running Man’. In the game, prisoners are released into a four zone area and all they have to do is make it to the end. Of course, it’s not that easy. They are hunted by ‘stalkers’, men who are treated as heroes but are simply sadistic killing machines.
As I said earlier, The Running Man doesn’t hold up as well as it did when I was eleven. Is it still damned entertaining? Yes, yes it is! Is it a well made film? Oh, hell no it isn’t. Luckily for those of you reading this review, I review based more on my entertainment while watching a film than on it’s technical merits.
Schwarzenegger plays the same type of character he always plays. A good guy in a bad situation. Who isn’t afraid to slaughter. Add to the mix the late Richard Dawson as Killian, the host, creator, and puppetmaster of ‘The Running Man’. Dawson, known for his likable Family Feud host, plays a total ass hat here. A sadistic asshole only concerned with the ratings of his show. Never you mind that it is the only show on the ‘1984’ type government television. That’s not important.
There really isn’t a lot more to say about The Running Man, other than it is loosely (very, very loosely) based on the novel by Richard Bachman aka Stephen King. Actually, they have little to no resemblance to each other, other than the title.
If you are looking for an entertaining ’80’s action film, you have to look no further. This is ’80’s all the way. It is not timeless. It does not hold up well. It will entertain you, though, especially Richard Dawson’s borderline mustache twirling villain Killian. You could do a lot worse than this. It will make you smile.
**1/2 out of ****