When I first saw this movie, I looked at it as, well, another 1980's action flick with Arnold Schwarzenegger literally devouring his enemies. It was entertaining, but it had something of a pro-wrestling mentality. It's a pretty good movie. It does recreate the look and feel of many of the WWF superstars, and it also includes former pro-wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura. It seemed to me that it was pure entertainment, as was pro-wrestling itself. However, something changed my mind. It was near the beginning of summer, when the news came that wrestler Owen Hart died of an accident at a wrestling event. His death shook me up, and it was hard for me to like wrestling anymore. After something like that, you realize that in some ways, "The Running Man" is true to life! It's about people fighting for their lives on a game show. The audience cheers for death and for blood. The more people are killed on the show, the higher the ratings go. Killian, the show's host, is a poke at WWF owner Vince McMahon, who, for the sake of ratings, has taken his wrestling federation farther than what anyone has ever seen before. Back then, it used to be Hulkamania, which was decent entertainment. Now, it's loaded with sex, violence, and blood.
What went wrong? I don't know but reviewer Main Man can tell you all about it due to his high knowledge of wrestling. It's been close to a decade since I seen wrestling and the last straw was when Owen Hart lost his life over a stunt to please the fans!
Aside from that, "The Running Man" actually tries to tell something important about the television entertainment we are having nowadays. If we take a quick look at some of the most daring and wretched ones of today's game shows we can note that even though they don't slaughter people yet they do almost everything else to keep the audience happy - no matter how immoral it might get. Here's a futuristic vision of a show called "The Running man". It still looks a pretty absurd and ridiculous from today's point of view but we're certainly heading to that direction. Slowly, perhaps, put that's the course.
This movie can be seen as what it also is: excellent action movie and alongside with "Conan the Barbarian - Collector's Edition", "The Terminator", "Commando (Director's Cut)" and "Predator (Widescreen Collector's Edition)" it's one of the greatest Schwarzenegger classics of the 80's. He celebrated his 40th birthday in 1987, everybody found him a believable man of action, people loved him and actually took him and even his amusing Austrian accent seriously. If I look at "The Running man" and compare it to Schwarzenegger's most recent films this one makes me very nostalgic. He's so soft nowadays. But then again, 80's are in the past. In "The Running man" we have lots of cruel and brilliant fights, exciting and funny chases, maniacal bad guys with interesting weapons and among many other good things Arnie's famous "I'll be back" -one liner. Yes sir, I like it.