Running Man, The

The Running Man Movie Poster

"It is the year 2019.  The Running Man is a deadly game no one has ever survived.  But...Schwarzenegger has yet to play."  The Running Man, released in 1987, was a science fiction flick some what based on a 1982 Stephen King novel.  The movie starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ben Richards, Richard Dawson as Damon Killian, and a few other gems, like Mick Fleetwood and Jesse Ventura.  With the exception of the critic's general appreciation of Richard Dawson's performance, the movie received mixed reviews.  Nevertheless, it was a huge box office success.

The movie is set in 2017.  The global economy has fallen apart and America is a totalitarian police-run country.  The government attempts to entertain the population by airing gladiator shows on the TV that find convicts trying to survive contrived gauntlets, like the show "Running Man", hosted by Damon Killian (played by Richard Dawson).  In the show, the "runners" try to evade the "stalkers", and if they succeed, they earn their freedom (although death is the more likely outcome).

A few years later, Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is an ex-cop, convicted of a crime he did not commit, and forced into the Running Man show to protect a couple of his friends (who end up there after all).  While in the Running Man show, Richards goes about the business of defeating the stalkers, saving his friends, and winning the hearts of the audience.  Unable to convince Richards to join the show as a stalker, Killian fakes his death to the audience.  After being captured by "the resistance" who have set up shop on the set of the show, the truth is revealed.  By the time the movie wraps up, the bad guys are eliminated, the audience is happy, and the good guys walk into the proverbial sunset.

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