Tuesday, March 01, 2011

“I’ll live to see you eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I'm going to ram it into your stomach and break your god-damn spine!”

More Arnoldy goodness. This time its 1987’s The Running Man.

Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a former cop who was wrongfully convicted of firing on unarmed civilians during a riot. He gets sent to prison, breaks out with some fellow inmates, but when he makes it back to the city, he runs into Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso), a woman who eventually turns him back over to the authorities because of his reputation. Richards is given over to Damon Killian (the gloriously hammy Richard Dawson), our villain and host of the hit show THE RUNNING MAN (DUN DUN DUN) where convicted felons are given the opportunity to fight their way to freedom through strange levels while being chased by the Stalkers, a bunch of gimmick oriented goons that include: Captain Freedom (Jesse Ventura), Fireball (Jim Brown), Buzzsaw (Bernard Gus Rethwisch), Subzero (Professor Toru Tanaka-- he was a wrestler, I checked) and Dynamo (Erland Van Lidth).

There’s also cameos by Mick Fleetwood & Dweezil Zappa. For some reason.

Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the movie follows standard 80s action movie principles in visuals. The sci-fi elements lead to a lot of glowing lights and computer screens. As for the costumes…well, that’s where things get really goofy. The jumpsuits for The Running Man contestants are a bit silly, but they pale in comparison to the outfits of the Stalkers. Of particular mention is Dynamo, who is a fat guy who sings opera in a costume made out of LED lights and drives around a go-kart also covered in LED lights.

Based on the Steven King (under the pen name Richard Bachman) book and screenplay by Steven E. de Souza. I haven’t read the book, but I’m fairly certain that a LOT of liberties were taken. Still, the movie’s fun, we get plenty of Arnold one-liners and its fun waiting for what new craziness awaits around the next corner.

Original music by Harold Faltermeyer, the score is INCREDIBLY 80s with a lot of electronic cues.

The Running Man is another goofy slice of Arnold-y goodness. Its got a dystopian future setting where convicts fight in an arena that’s like Super Smash TV against a group of bosses that look like rejected He-Man toys. Its great!

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