November 16, 2012
Directed by former Starsky and Hutch TV star Paul Michael Glaser, this post-apocalyptic science fiction yarn satirized American entertainment, mocking pro wrestling, game shows, and law-and-order reality programming. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Ben Richards, a cop in the totalitarian America of 2019, framed for massacring rioting civilians during a famine. – Rotten Tomatoes.
Dominant Social Theme: Good entertainment for the whole family – not much sex but a lot of violence.
Free-Market Analysis: We just re-watched “Running Man” and the predictions made in the movie are uncanny. Even the timeline is in place, with upcoming food scarcity predicted (food riots), massive unemployment and a violent, militaristic undertone that matches the US’s current mood.
What is also startling is the amount of so-called Illuminati symbolism interspersed throughout the movie. Pyramids, one-eye symbols and, of course, the familiar horned-hand that Richard Dawson flashes at every turn. Here’s more about the plot:
After escaping from jail, Richards tries to prove his innocence, but his efforts are thwarted at every turn by a regime in need of a scapegoat.
Richards is captured along with an innocent civilian, Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso), and they are forced to participate in a violent game show called “The Running Man,” hosted by the unctuous Damon Killian (Richard Dawson).
The object of the game for Richards and Mendez: obtain freedom by staying alive against a gauntlet of skillful assassins like “Subzero” (Prof. Toru Tanaka) and “Captain Freedom” (Jesse Ventura), each armed with unique weapons like razor-sharp hockey sticks and chainsaws.
With the help of some fellow “contestants,” Richards is able to tap into government computers and prove his innocence. The Running Man was very loosely based on a short story by Stephen King, who wrote it under the name Richard Bachman.
A whole canon of predictive “action” films is emerging in the 21st century as we look back to see what was prescient and what was not. At the top of the list is the stellar “They Live,” by the great action-director, John Carpenter. We’ve written about it before.
The same themes are present in “Running Man.” The final scene, in which Dawson tries to explain the reality of television and why it is “good,” cuts as close to power elite reality as Hollywood ever allowed.
We’d recommend people go back and look at some of these older films if only to grasp the thoroughness with which Hollywood has been manipulated. These films are not only messages to the future; they were also apparently intended to be what is called “predictive programming,” designed to make a bleak future familiar in advance.
The more people anticipate a given reality, the less they will be shocked by it, or so the theory goes. The larger, underlying dominant social theme is that the sort of helplessness and violence presented by the “Running Man” is inevitable. The larger plot line is actually of secondary importance. The bleakness of the vision is the movie’s primary element.
Interestingly, Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be at the heart of many of these films. He’s an interesting man and there’s much more going on beneath the surface of his life than is popularly acknowledged. Sort of like “Running Man” itself …
The entire movie is available at YouTube, by the way. Coincidence?
See an analysis of “Running Man” here:
(Video from kimba411967’s YouTube user channel.)