The Running Man (Arnold Schwarzenegger): Reel Action

Imagine a world, where an oppressed people are ruled by a police state and kept pacified by a game show where people compete in violent games of sport…and Arnold Schwarzenegger runs around in skintight yellow lycra while dropping dime one-liners. I’m here to tell you that world does exist. It’s time to play The Running Man!

It’s another episode of Reel Action and we’re looking at another Schwarzenegger joint that’s close to my heart, right up there with Predator, which was released the same year. It’s 1987’s The Running Man, a shockingly prescient look at the influence of media and a predictor of our reality TV culture (which has a remake on the way). Oh and it also has some badass gladiatorial fights glossed up to pro wrestling levels of ridiculousness, and featurin at least three grapplers to back play murderous “stalkers” with comic book villain monickers. It was The Hunger Games before anybody knew what the “f” a Mockingjay was. Hell, I still don’t know.

The Running Man comes from the *shocker* twisted mind of Stephen King under his Richard Bachman alias, who has imagined a dystopia where America is ruled by a totalitarian government. Criminals or those deemed dangerous to the state, aren’t incarcerated but made contestants in a deadly game show called The Running Man. There, they must try to make it through the various sectors while avoiding death at the hands of the “Stalkers”, outlandish Mortal Kombat-esque baddies with names like Buzzsaw, Subzero, and Captain Freedom! That last one could be an Avenger!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.