The Running Man Review
Los Angeles, 2019. The US has become a completely totalitarian regime. Any resistance or dissent is immediately quashed and any protests or riots among the desperate populace are met with armed military intervention.
Enter Ben Richards, (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the pilot of a military helicopter during a food riot. Richards is ordered to open fire on the unarmed crowd and when he refuses he is knocked out and the riot is “suppressed”. Soon Richards finds himself as a military patsy, tagged by the government controlled media as “The Butcher Of Bakersfield” and incarcerated in a detention centre where the inmates are used as slave labour.
Following a brief escape where he meets up with network Jingle musician Amber Mendez - Maria Conchita Alonso , he finds himself “recruited” into taking part in Americas biggest and most lethal game show, “The Running Man”.
Run partly as a distraction for the populace and mostly to generate ratings for the ICS network, “The Running Man” sees its contestants pitted against stalkers who try to hunt their prey through a series of wrecked city blocks. If the contestants win they will receive a full pardon, but the price of loosing is death.
On its original release in 1987 this was another Arnie action movie. Some hard core sci-fi fans may have drawn parallels with an Orwellian future but mostly people watched for the action. This new special edition puts a different spin on the movie and the future it paints may not now, unfortunately, be so unbelievable. Now, in 2004, it can be seen in the context of the ever increasing number of “Reality TV” shows that we see emerging onto our screens. Further more both here in the UK and in the US we are also seeing an erosion of civil liberties in the ongoing “war on terror”. Whatever your standpoint on these issues it is evident that this release is definitely timely