The Running Man is a movie that I’ve seen so many times I can’t even count. I grew up watching it and started watching it at a young age. I knew it as an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie before I knew it was anything else. Watching it now offers a different experience than it did when I was younger. The very specific kind of dystopia that exists in the movie offers way to many parallels to our current society. The two have come closer in the last few year than I would like.
The Running Man is based on the book of the same name by Richard Bachman, which was the pseudonym of Stephen King. The screenplay that Steven E. de Souza wrote adapting the book did so quite loosely. I only know that because of the “What’s the Difference” video from formerly named CineFix YouTube channel. The Running Man was directed by Paul Michael Glaser. Together de Souza and Glaser made a surprisingly relevant satire for modern day.
The Running Man is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie. He kind of functions like any other action hero at the time. The main difference between him and other action heroes is that he has both one-liners and strength, rather than one or the other. He’s also wildly charismatic as Ben Richards, which you would see more of in his comedic roles. Richard Dawson is an antagonist that is equally as charismatic. Dawson’s Killian is the kind of villain that you want to see get his comeuppance. They’re both supported by Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Erland Van Lidth, Jesse Ventura, and Mick Fleetwood.
The costume and set design in The Running Man is one of the best things about the movie. It does a lot to help make the world feel real, or as close to real as they wanted to get. The costume design also did a lot of work to add character to the stalkers. The practical effects are also pretty good. There’s the old age makeup for Mick Fleetwood, which is kind of close to what he looks like now. Though it’s closer to what he’d look like if he aged worse than he actually did. The music by Harold Faltermayer is fantastic and adds the right thing to the movie.
The Running Man is a fun action movie that has moved into satire more recently. This movie is the source of my aversion to having anyone sign anything on my back. The fear of having something pinned to my back because of a pen is something I’ve had for two decades. The movie holds up surprisingly well after almost thirty-five years. You can stream The Running Man on HBO Max until the end of the month. I give The Running Man 8.5 satellite dishes out of 10.