REVIEW: The Running Man
Schwarzenegger continues his relentless assault on the box office with his 1987 smash hit The Running Man!
The Running Man is set in a futuristic fascist world, that is ruled by an oppressive, propagandizing government ( Alan Moore used this feature to plagiarise...I mean create his epic V for Vendetta....however he failed miserably, since that book and movie sucked massive rhino cock) . Schwarzenegger stars as soldier Ben Richards who is imprisoned for not strafing a group of innocent civilians during a food riot with his gunship. Upon escaping with some rebels (Yaphet Koto, and half the band of Fleetwood Mac), Ben Richards is re-captured and forced to take part in a sadistic game show called The Running Man, which is hosted by Damon Killian (played by Richard Dawson, who took a brief hiatus from molesting young women while greeting them on the Family Feud). The Running Man, gives criminals an opportunity to play for their freedom while fighting for their lives on the show.
That's it. That's the whole movie. Ok I will elaborate slightly.
Ben Richards gets wrapped up in some yellow spandex, crammed into a rocket car, and launched into the game zone (which is old Los Angeles, or perhaps San Francisco after the big earth quake), an apocolyptic looking setting, littered with mutant assholes on motorcycles. Richards is deposited there alongside two of his rebel friends William Laughlin (Yaphet Koto, which for the record is probably one of the coolest fucking names in Hollywood), Harold Weiss (actor not important enough to list), and shortly after Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso) who is the bitch that turned Richards in and put him in his current situation, and eventual love interest for the giant Austrian. Bad Movie Knight Note: In case you still aren't convinced that Yaphet Koto is the coolest mother fucker on the planet....Koto turned down the role of Lando Calrissian in 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' (1980). He feared that Lando would be killed in the movie, and that he would be forever typecast (quoted from IMDB.com). Somewhere Billy Dee Williams is hoping the script for Under Cover Brother 2 arrives in the mail.....
While in the game zone, Runners are hunted by Stalkers, who are in turn cheered on and bet on by a live studio audience, people on the street, in bars, and at home. The Stalkers are made up of a retired Sumo Wrestler, a former Football Player, an Ex-Navy SEaL turned Professional Wrestler, a German Leather Bar Douchebag, and a big fat gay guy that sings opera. Truly terrifying. There is Sub Zero (Professor Toru Tanaka), who is a large ice skating goalie who shoots exploding pucks, Buzzsaw (Gus Rethwisch), a motorcycle riding, chain-saw wielding madman, Dynamo (Erland van Lidth), the opera singing, electricity shooting fat gay guy, Fireball (Jim Brown) the unable to help Maurice Claurette flame throwing guy, and Captain Freedom (Jesse 'The Body' Ventura) who had retired from stalking to become an announcer for the The Running Man, but unretires to face Richards. Got all that?
While Richards negotiates this obstacle course of death that is not unlike Fletch's bedroom (where many a young girl has payed the ultimate price.....and seen him nekkid...right...CONNIE!...no offense Megan....you are just a rebound and will soon be tossed onto the pile with the rest of the women that Fletch has destroyed!), his counterparts, Laughlin and Weiss are attempting to bring down the Government Network, by accessing the satellite uplink codes, and delivering them to Fleetwood Mac, so they can broadcast the truth over the network. In order to get to Fleetwood Mac, Richards must fight the Stalkers, kill them in a unique and clever way, and then deliver a 'witty' line, that sounds all the more hilarious coming from a guy who is supposed to be American (Ben Richards) but has a ridiculously thick Austrian accent.....suspend disbelief I guess?
1987 was a good year for Schwarzenegger and The Running Man represents the apex of the Ah-Nuld Timeline which manages to sustain itself well into the 1990's. The Running Man follows the early action movie formula that pits Schwarzenegger against impossible odds, and watch as he battles through the adversity like Fletch in a bath house. It also gives him an opportunity to make another attempt at acting with some more complex, two sentence lines.....but his main focus is beating ass.....because more than 10 words is one, too difficult to remember, and two.....way too difficult to remember.
Hamlin Grade: 5.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,