'The Running Man' - Review

by Brandon Wettig about a year ago in review

2 Stars - 1987

'The Running Man' - Review

If you have ever met me in person, you will know that I have an old soul. I really dislike the modern trends of music and celebrities and seem to be stuck in the past in terms of the entertainment I consume. Basically saying that I love everything the 80s. So one fateful trip to my local flea market, The Running Man caught my eye. A cheesy 80s action movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wouldn't want to watch it? While The Running Man did entertain me for the most part, unfortunately, we have a movie that simply came and went without leaving any real emotional impact.

My biggest problem with this movie is that it has an interesting premise, but in my eyes, the film didn't do enough to live up to the said premise. In 2017, the economy of the world is in the toilet and the United States of America has closed its borders and is now a totalitarian country where everything is censored. Film, TV, Literature, everything. So naturally, people are going to start to protest. Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a police officer for the LAPD is ordered to start firing on the protesting civilians. After refusing, he is sent to prison. After a daring escape, he is captured once again. Will his punishment be a trip straight back to jail? No sir, he has to honor of staring on a game show where criminals are put into a maze full of dangerous obstacles while being broadcast to the entire country.

So right away, I was having flashbacks to The Hunger Games. A televised event where people fight to the death. While I can't complain that The Running Man stole their idea because it was released 20 years prior, I should state that because The Hunger Games has had quite the impact on pop culture in the last couple of years, it is tough to go back to a movie from the 80s with a very similar premise.

In terms of the premise, I like the idea of America turning into this totalitarian country and rebellions rising up to defeat it, but this movie was going for a futuristic tone and failed to really go wild with its creativity. It looks like 1987, not 2017. Yes, I know what 2017 was like because I lived in it, but when you're creating a world that takes place in the future, that is your opportunity to get creative and show things that we've never seen before. This was my biggest let down with this movie. The fashion is the same, the technology isn't that more advanced, and the television sets look like 1980s television sets. Now I am not saying that this film should have looked just like the real 2017 because there was no way for the filmmakers to know how the future would play out, but I find these ideas rather bland. Have doors that shoot up when you walk through them and they make a weird laser sound effect and it keeps a record of who has walked through it allowing the government to keep tabs on all its citizens. I literally thought of that idea just now and I am spitballing.

As for the action, it's not that entertaining. Sure, it obviously isn't going to match some of the action we have today with the amazing stunt teams we have now and CGI, but I still think they didn't go cheesy enough.

That is the best way to describe this movie. A cheesy movie from the 80s... that could have done with some more cheese. Yes, it's always entertaining to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in any movie, but this movie came and went with no lasting impression. The action was hoaky, but not hoaky enough. The premise was cool but wasn't realized enough. The story was interesting, but not interesting enough. This one is one you could skip.

Brandon Wettig
Brandon Wettig
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