Summary: In a dystopian future, after the global economic collapse, the United States has become a totalitarian country that censors all cultural activities. The US government is appeasing the population by broadcasting television games in which convicted criminals fight for their lives. In 2019, US police officer and helicopter pilot Ben Richards was arrested for refusing to shoot an innocent and starving crowd of protesters while carrying a food package. As he escapes from prison, he is noticed by an unscrupulous television presenter, Damon Killian, who, against his will, tries to hire him for his star mission. The running man, a macabre live TV game in which a convict has to escape the murderers who are thrown after him, with the reward that his sentence will be overturned if he survives his persecutors. Ben manages to take on the killers Killian started in his pursuit, one at a time, and then returns to the set of the show to take revenge on the host.
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Ben Richards
Richard Dawson: Damon Killian
Yaphet Kotto: William Laughlin
Maria Conchita Alonso: Amber Mendez
Jim Brown: Fireball
Jesse Ventura: Captain freedom
Believe it or not, I hadn’t seen Running Man until last week. And I probably saw him too late because I can’t tell that I was excited. As a pure product of the 1980s, we oscillate between an anticipatory film with a strong political message and action / adventure that sometimes borders on comedy. Far from being adapted from a Richard Bachman novel, it severely limits the scope for social criticism to focus on the chase and brutal confrontations.
I was surprised to see that the famous ‘TV Contest’ comes pretty late in the movie, the pre-show like that is dedicated to the story of Ben and her comrades, how they flee and then hide in an America that has become a shadow of themselves. The second part is therefore dedicated to this famous mission that brings all people together in front of television. In addition to our heroes, we mainly discover the Trackers, a gang of assassins in the country to kill the various competitors. I think these colorful antagonists were a huge part of the movie’s success back then.
When I think of watching a film with a serious tone, I watch something completely different, a burning morning show, a TV adventure that is also performed by Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser by his real name) and every thirty seconds Pointe sprinkled. The burlesque effort of the whole thing is accentuated by the outfits of the characters during their participation, whether ‘candidate’ or ‘tracker’. You have to see Schwarzy in a tight blue and yellow outfit at least once in your life …
There is nothing more to say about this Running Man, which remains a rather boat-like film, filled with outdated and caricature clichés (especially the last shot made very badly), but which still has its scratchy side and a minimum of reflection on the so-called consumer society (Today we speak more often of “growth”). I realize that this film foretells the future and visionary ‘idiocracy’ with the great Luke Wilson. We’re in a little bit of the same delirium.
PS: We’ll also note the fact that Ben, who thought he might find his brother in his apartment, hardly cares about him once he learns he’s “worked up” … fine. Or badly written.
The opinion of Starch, the house cat:
Rendezvous next Wednesday 6 p.m. for a new column.