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Movie Review – The Running Man 1987

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It was fun rewatching The Running Man 1987. I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was originally in theaters. This movie could be the poster child for 1980s extra-cheese action movies. It’s far from the best of the bunch. Hell, it’s not even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best action movie of 1987. He was also in Predator which came out in the same year. What this movie has is an unabashed, over-the-top, extra glitter story that has no idea just how awful it really is. And talk about 80s hair. There was so much of it.

The acting is bad. I mean, really bad. Everyone is so bad that they make Richard Dawkins look good, and he was more of a game show host than an actor. Which works, because he essentially plays an R-rated version of himself from Family Feud.

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Hunger Games Prequel

The thing that struck me right away was the similarities the plot has with Hunger GamesHunger Games was in turn inspired by the Japanese book Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. The book was published in 1999, which went on to inspire Suzanne Collins to write her books, which became the movies we know.

The Running Man has much of the same theme and it was written by Stephen King, under the pseudonym Richard Bachman back in 1985. I don’t know what inspiration Stephen King drew from, but his story predates Battle Royal by about 14 years. If anything, Stephen King was inspired by a previous story he published back in 1979 called The LongWalk.Which has been in production hell for about 30 years.

Aside: The Long Walk is a brilliant story. And it’s crazy simple. How it has eluded the big screen is a mystery to me.

Where They Are Now

One of the nice things about watching an old movie like this is to see where the actors went from here. Arnold was seemingly on top of the world, but really, his star was just beginning to rise to uncomparable hights. The movie also featured Jesse Ventura, who was in Predator with Arnold early in 1987. We also had Yaphet Kotto who you might recognize from the first Alien movie. Jim Brown, NFL running back, had a small role, and Maria Conchita Alonso was in this, and then the sequel to Predator in 1990. In fact, Maria Conchita Alonso is still kicking it. She’s been in 10 movies/TV shows since 2020. We even have Mick Fleetwood in the movie, from the band Fleetwood Mac.

Grade: C-


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