Yesterday I was reminded of why I actually like the movie “Running Man” - although I’m not a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a such. (No, not really, not even of the comedies.) I like it, because it’s such an interesting dystopia they’re showing. And because reality has almost surpassed this vision of the future.
For those of you who’ve never seen the movie (although it’s quite old already), I’ll give a short summary. In a not-so-nice future, TV has found a new reality show: “Running Man”.
Criminals are given a chance to outrun ‘hunters’ - quite martial-looking beings with names like Dynamo or Fireball (it’s easy to guess what kind of weapons those two are using, isn’t it?). Only, they don’t have a chance, not really. It’s a fake. Some people are destined to win, but overall, it’s a cheap way to get rid of the criminals, without a trial, without having to put them in jail (which could get quite expensive). Then Arnold … well, his movie-self … is sent in and turns it all around. He fights against the hunters and wins - fair. (Well, all’s fair in war, isn’t it?) People start betting on him instead of the hunters. And finally, the huge fake is exposed.
Well, now back to why I like the movie. I like it, because it shows how easy it is to make people believe. The whole game-show is a fake … the whole show is nothing but a way to kill some people and entertain all others. And enough entertainment makes people forget what it is like to live in this future, where a lot of people are poor (and thus the number of crimes is quite high) and hungry.
When reality is exposed, when all the tricks don’t work any longer, the ‘establishment’ shows it’s ugly face. Without taking care of civilians, the rebels (aren’t there always some righteous rebels in such movies?) are attacked - and they, of course, care for the civilians.
And, admittedly, what the villain has to say about TV isn’t exactly wrong.
So, on the whole, I like the movie. It’s a bit schmaltzy and a bit too ‘Hollywood’ at the end, but then, that’s just to be expected. And just as with a movie from Germany about a reality show in which a man is hunted by a couple of real assassins for quite some time, it’s not that far from the truth any longer.