Day 8: The Running Man (1987)


Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Running Man!


Training for an upcoming 5k put me in the mood to watch an inspiring race movie. As I had already seen Run Fatboy, Run, I scanned my queue to find a film to fit the need. The Running Man caught my attention and was promptly moved to position 1. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a futuristic gladiator-style battle to the death film.


OK, OK, I kid. I knew what I was getting into when I placed the film in my queue oh so long ago. I actually read the book a while back, and had seen pieces of the film. After I started watching the DVD, I realized I had not seen much of the film at all.


The film stars Arnold Schwarzeneggar as Ben Richards, a good cop framed for a crime he did not commit. In a world obsessed with vicious reality TV, Richards is forced to compete in the most popular show in the world, Running Man (I know this, because early in the film, a TV provides a large chunk of exposition…. ah, the 80s). Not surprisingly, there is a resistance movement and Richards becomes involved with them in their attempt to expose the lies told by television and the government.


As with any Arnold film, be ready for horribly cheesy one-liners, over-the-top fight scenes, and obligatory shots of well-oiled muscles. Sometimes I forget how silly 80s movies can be. The music is heavily synthesized and bland. It gave me flashbacks of this really crazy, really funny Mystery Science Theater 3000 I love called Future War.


Although I found this film very dated, I did, in fact, learn a few things about running that I hope to take with me when I run my 5k.

  1. Before you start the race, it’s a good idea to tell the officiant some snappy phrase. Example: [Ben] “Killian! I’ll be back!” [Killian] “Only in a rerun.” See, this is not only witty, but optimistically informative too. This clearly informs the official that you intend to finish the race and will meet at the designated location.

  2. While running, always dress head to toe in neon spandex. You will look radical. No further explanation necessary.

  3. During the race, if you find yourself in a hockey rink for some unexplained reason, just keep moving. These things never end well.

  4. Scream. Randomly. It helps if you look really pissed off.

  5. If you don’t win, realize the system is corrupt. The race was probably fixed to begin with. (This especially helps me, as I am usually a bit of a slow runner)

I am still trying to decide if I enjoyed this film. I groaned a lot while watching it—and found myself rolling my eyes as well. I think I would have been fine without seeing this one. However, I did watch the whole thing and can appreciate it for what it was. I am sure there are people who are fans of classic Arnold films and this would be a part of that collection.


So, watch at your own risk. As for me, well, I’ll be back [tomorrow with another review]. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


Score: C-

Netflix Queue: 478

3 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Rach

    Coincidentally, we spent most our lunch yesterday doing Arnold one-liners, mostly from Batman and Robin. I was nearly in tears.

    August 4th, 2010

  2. Jens

    A while back at DD we thought it was hilarious to abuse the paging system late at night. Someone would eventually pull up an Arnold soundboard and page all those famous one liners.

    August 4th, 2010

  3. Jens

    Also, no 4 is hillarious, and I shall remember it for future appropriate situations.

    August 4th, 2010

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