While it doesn’t really constitute as a horror film, The Running Man is one of my favorite Arnold (The Governator) movies. Written by Stephen King under the penname Richard Bachman, it is a fantastic story of the old adage “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The idea of a police state isn’t that farfetched anymore, as we Americans slowly give up our civil and inalienable human rights for the illusion of safety and freedom.
In this movie, the year is 2019 (just around our corner isn’t it?) and EVERYTHING is dictated by the government…the shows you watch, the music you listen to, the books you read, the food you eat, the clothes you can wear…everything. The government also controls where you go, who you go with and how (or if) you get there. In addition to all that, the government has started farming out convicted criminals (well, what THEY consider convicted, there are no more courts or trials, no more plea bargains or deals) to a sadistic TV show called “The Running Man” which puts the convicts in a 400 square block fight zone with people chasing after them designated to kill them.
The government lies about everything to control the masses. They fake news releases to cover their asses on major foul-ups. They kill tons of innocent people and make tons of money doing it. The majority of the public stays in line but, there is, as always, a resistance. They are the few that live underground, away from the state, plotting how they are going to steal back the satellite signal that broadcasts all the government’s lies.
I can’t imagine too many of you have NOT seen this movie. I would think it would be mostly younger folks who think anything made prior to 2000 is old and sucks. Well, not every film needs to be drowning in CGI in order to be good. And back in the day, Hollywood was making original movies, not a bunch of crappy remakes…reboots, redux, whatever they are calling them nowadays. (I’m sorry but, Redux sounds like a laundry detergent, not a film style). I’m a Generation Xer. To me, they are remakes. And they suck big time. Hollywood hasn’t come up with a new and fresh film idea in decades. They just keep regurgitating the same films with new, younger actors and more expensive special effects.
(On a side note, the original Total Recall was killer too. Why can’t they leave the classics alone and do some real work?)
The kill scenes in The Running Man are awesome. The dialogue is smartass and quick witted. There are some great lines in this film. Arnie gets his “I’ll be back” comment in there. The chick makes a great joke about one of the killer stalkers, Dynamo. There’s a lot of solid one-liners in this film. The writers (the screenplay writers and King) actually did their job and did it well.
I often wonder how they came up with these ideas of what the world would be like this far into the future. I mean in Back to the Future II we had flying cars and hover boards and inflatable self-drying shoes and jackets. Everything was digital. In Total Recall we had humans and mutants inhabiting Mars. In Demolition Man there’s no violence or negativity, no crime. Actually, they take away a lot of humanity in Demolition Man. Everyone is like an antidepressant robot. In Judge Dredd it’s very similar to Demolition Man. All these films portray the collapse of modern society and a world where the people are minions and have no individuality and no voice. Basically, a world where the very fabric of what this nation stands for has unraveled and apparently, no one cares.
Still, the ideas brought to screen seemed so out there back then but, now seem only a stone’s throw away. I find it quite interesting the different takes there have been on the future of this country and how all of them seem to depict a world that, in all actuality, few of us would truly want to spend our lives in. Let’s hope we are a smarter group of people than what Hollywood deems us to be, huh?