Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

The Running Man (1987)

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)

Arnold the Barbarian stars in the ultimate nightmare--the idea that Richard Dawson and the entire studio audience of "Family Feud" could CONTROL YOUR LIFE. Arnold plays a cop in the year 2017 who gets sent to prison for refusing to kill 80 or 90 innocent women and children, but then he breaks out and gets captured and gets one chance for freedom. He has to don the world's worst Hawaiian shirt and go on the world's most popular game show, hosted by Richard Dawson, where convicts are shot through these Super Wild Mouse missile tubes into a war zone that looks like the South Bronx, and then professional rasslers are sent out there to hunt em down, kill em, hack em into little pieces, and win Lee Press-On Nails for members of the studio audience while the "Solid Gold" dancers stretch their Danskins for the camera.

No breasts (shame on you, Maria Conchita Alonso).
Twenty-six dead bodies.
One prison break.
Exploding head.
Exploding game show host.
Barb-wire neck ripping.
Chainsaw torso slicing.
Steel-spike impalements.
Arnold Fu.

With Jim Brown as the napalm-gun-wielding Fireball, Professor Suz Zero as a hockey-stick Sumo-rasslin jelly-belly killer, Gus Rethwisch as a motorcycle-driving chainsaw killer ("I love the saw, the saw's part of me, and I'm gonna make it a part of you"), Erland Vand Lidth as Dynamo the opera-singing half-Patton-tank killer dressed up like a Christmas tree.
Richard Dawson has the best line: "You want ratings? I can get 10 points for his biceps alone." And don't let it be said Arnold doesn't know a good catch phrase when he learns one: at the start of his run on the bobsled from hell, he says I'll be back. To which Dawson answers, "Only in reruns."
Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, of "Starsky & Hutch" renown. 
4 stars


2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved. Not an AOL Time-Warner Company in this lifetime.
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