The Running Man: On yer marks, set, Run!

Yeah! Everyone knows Arnie is the greetest Acting Star ever and everyone one of his films (except don’t throw mummy off the train) is a classic. Based on a Steve Kingsly album this film sees Arnie entered into a popular game in the future. Blockbusters? Nope. This game is of life and death, and of running and fighting. The contestants (including Arnie’s girlfriend Amber and two of his mates) are claimed to be criminals, and the game show is designed as punishment for criminals. They have to enter an underground city and get from one end to the other without being killed, but there are lots of obstacles in their way, such as Skipping Stones, Single Roller, and Bridge Ball. As well as these there are gladiators chasing them- skilled fighters with special powers- one is a tough ice hockey player, one shoots fire, one shoots lightening etc. Normally this would be a good way to treat criminals, and teach them not to steal groceries anymore, but we know that Arnie et al have been framed. There is lots of action. There is lots of humour:

Mic: Mr. Spock, you have the com. Underground Tech: Ay aye, Lord Vader.

And lots of classic Arnie one liners such as :

Ben Richards: Killian, here’s Subzero, now nothing but a lifeless body. Like a snowman. Heh heh.


Amber: (after Richards cut Buzzsaw in half with a chain saw) What happened to Buzzsaw? Ben Richards: He half to go away!

And of course:

Ben Richards: (after strangling Sub-Zero with barbed wire) Every rose has its thorn!

Not forgetting:

Ben Richards: (trying to get Dynamo’s attention) Hey, Lighthead! Hey, Christmas Tree! Yeah, you! Come here so I can turn you on!

A highlight of the film is the relationship between Arnie’s character and Amber. At first they are enemies, quipping:

Amber: I warn you I get sick. Car sick, air sick. And I’m going to throw up all over you. Richards: You wouldn’t dare. Just remember, I can break your neck like an Irishman’s.

But afterwards they fall for each other reluctantly:

Amber: They think I’m your girlfriend. Ben Richards: Well, um, you could be. The camera can’t see round that corner. Wanna feel the Austrian Oak? Amber: OOOH MATRON!

Arnie also quips with the lead bad guy- the game show host (played by Roy Walker) throughout the film. Before the game begins:

Ben Richards: Killian! I’ll be back! Damon Killian: Sorry, your microphone isn’t working.

During the game:

Ben Richards: You’re gonna eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I’m going to ram it into your stomach! Then, I’m gonna feed you bag after bag of money, cos that’s all you love, and when you start dumping out quarters sideways, I’m gonna be in the toilet with you, laughing!

And after the game:

Damon Killian: I’ll have a gun please, Bob. Ben Richards: I don’t do requests.

Indeed, with all this classic dialogue from Arnie the rest of the cast may feel neglected. The script writers were clever though and let the rest of the cast have some dialogue which is worthy of being in Shakespeare:

Amber: They’re running men. Last season’s winners. Fireball: Yeah. They wasted their money on an orgy of crack. 12 hours later all that was left were 2 shrivelled, mangled corpses. Funny huh?


Laughlin: I’m going somewhere, but not with you. Buzzsaw took care of my travelling arrangements. Ben: Must be Disneyland. I’m still banned after that incident with Sleeping Beauty.


Damon Killian: What’s the matter? Steroids make you deaf? Sven: WHAT!? I CAN”T HEAR YOU!

The rest of the cast are pretty good in their roles, from Arnie’s mates to the sweet assortment of goons. They make the film incredibly realistic and make you wish the future would hurry up so that you could watch this game every Saturday night on TV. If I was in the game I would hide until I found a machine gun, and then shoot my way out. No one would get me as I have over a year’s experience in the Armed Forces and frequently spend my days working out survival tactics, inventing booby traps and creating scenarios where I am trapped in space or surrounded by bad guys and have to escape. Les Forsyth does a good job as the Host at warming up the audience into a frenzy, so that they buy lots of merchandise I assume:

Damon Killian: Who loves you and who do you love? Audience: Jerry! Jerry!

The action here is very good, with lots of killings, fights, guns, and bloods and I would say that it is one of the best movies based on a Steve King play.

Best Scene: When Arnie is trying to hack into the computer system so that he can turn off the cameras and meet the underground army of rebels and his friend keeps shouting Uplink Undergorund!

Ben Richards- Uplink underground, up-link underground. If you say that one more time, I’ll up-link your ass, and you’ll be underground! Friend- Uplink underground! Montage of shots showing Arnie fetching tools, digging a hole, blow-torching something, and eventually putting friend in hole, and filling hole with dirt.

I also liked the bit where the guy’s head explodes.

2 thoughts on “The Running Man: On yer marks, set, Run!

  1. Aiden R January 6, 2010 / 8:13 pm

    Running Man’s a total guilty pleasure. Best line: “I’ll be back.” “Only in the re-runs.”

    • carlosnightman January 6, 2010 / 8:22 pm

      Yeah, it’s another classic Arnie movie. I’m not sure whether my ‘review’ does it justice…

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