The Running Man (1987)
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Another great look at a possible future released back in 1987. The movie is based loosely on Stephen King’s novel of the same name under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.
Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso, Richard Dawson, Yaphet Kotto, and Jesse Ventura.
The film shows what can happen to a society that places it faith in a Government that can lead it to think any way it wants through a media that can make it think anything it wants, no matter how wrong it is. How much will people sell their freedom for a sense of ‘security’, will they accept a new low caliber lifestyle provided by Government officials who live better than the people, who can set anyone up and offers no one any recourse for the injustices the Govt. commits?
By 2017, after a worldwide economic collapse, the United States has become a totalitarian police state, censoring all cultural activity.
The U.S. government pacifies the populace by broadcasting game shows where convicted criminals fight for their lives, including the gladiator-style The Running Man, hosted by the ruthless Damon Killian, where “runners” attempt to evade “stalkers”, armed mercenaries, around a large arena, and near-certain death for a chance to be pardoned by the state.
In 2019, Ben Richards, a police helicopter pilot framed for a massacre during a food riot in Bakersfield, California, escapes from a labor camp with two resistance fighters,
Harold Weiss and William Laughlin, and finds refuge at a resistance camp headed by their leader, Mic.
Instead of joining the resistance, Richards seeks shelter at his brother’s apartment. He finds it is now occupied by Amber Mendez, a composer for ICS, the network that broadcasts The Running Man. Richards asks Mendez about the whereabouts of his brother, and she says that he was taken for “re-education”.
Taking Amber hostage, Richards attempts to flee to Hawaii, but she alerts airport security and Richards is captured and taken to ICS before the police can arrest him. There, Killian coerces him into participating in The Running Man in exchange for Laughlin and Weiss’s safety. Ben learns that Killian had enrolled them as runners anyway and swears revenge, which Killian brushes off.
As the game begins, Richards and his friends are sent into the game zone, an abandoned part of Los Angeles devastated by a prior earthquake, where they are attacked by the first stalker, Subzero. They fight back and Richards garrotes Subzero to death with barbed wire – the first time a stalker has ever died on the show.
While the movie didn’t do as well as they hoped at the box office, it brought in almost 40 million dollars on a budget of over 27 million
Source: Sal Amato