The Running Man
I live to see you eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room
for my fist because I'm going to ram it into your stomach
and break your god-damn spine!
The year is 2019 and the world economy has collapsed...the US has sealed its borders and become a militarized police state, censoring all film, art and communications. With total control of the media the government attempt to quell the nations yearning for freedom by broadcasting a number of game shows on which convicted criminals must fight for their lives. One such show....the most popular show....is that of 'The Running Man,' hosted by Damon Killian. On this programme the criminals are put in the game zone and stalked by a number of iconic 'heroes,' and the criminals are eventually killed in the name of entertainment.
Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is a Police helicopter pilot who refuses to fire upon unarmed civilians in Bakersfield, California. His fellow officers are ordered to overpower him and fire upon the civilians, which they do. Richards is made a scapegoat by the state for the resulting massacre and he is subsequently imprisoned. Images of the event appear on television screens across the country and Richards was given the tag the 'Butcher of Bakersfield.'
Whilst imprisoned Richards escapes with two fellow inmates, William Laughlin and Harold Weiss. The trio go underground and Richards disguises himself as a construction worker. he visits his brothers apartment, however this is now occupied by composer Amber Mendez, who also works for the same network that broadcasts the Running Man. She informs him that his brother was taken away for 're-education,' and threatens to turn Richards over to the authorities. Richards kidnaps her and plans to fly to Hawaii - however at airport security he is detained. Amber watches as news reports falsely state that Richards killed several police officers and airport security guards before his capture.
After watching videos of Richards prison break Killian thinks that having Richards on the Running Man gameshow will boost ratings. Richards isn't too keen, but he is told that if he doesn't participate his friends (Weiss and Laughlin) would take his place. However all three are launched onto the same grid anyway, and soon after Amber is caught looking through raw footage of the Bakersfield massacre, and in an added twist the programme producers identify her as Richard's lover. The game itself takes place in an earthquake ruined section of Los Angeles, and the runners attempt to survive whilst being chased by stalkers, with the latter resembling professional wrestlers. Each stalker has their won unique identity and way in which they kill their prey - for example Sub Zero operates on the ice and has some nasty ice related weaponry. of course this show is watched by millions, and member of the audience can request particular stalkers to enter the gamezone.
Richards grows from an ex-con "villain" to a popular player of the game as he confronts and kills each Stalker he faces. With the Department of Justice becoming increasingly frustrated by a convict doing well on the show, Killian, during a commercial break, offers Richards a role as a Stalker, which he declines. Killian ultimately stages the death of Richards through computer-generated imagery by the hands of a virtual Captain Freedom (Ventura), a highly decorated ex-Stalker and now a popular TV show host and commentator, after Freedom refused to "come out of retirement" in order to stalk Richards.
As the film progresses, Richards discovers and joins an underground group fighting the television network that airs The Running Man. They intend to expose the "truth" behind the show -- that contestants who had been declared winners in the past had actually been killed by Stalkers. Thanks to the raw footage, they also publicize the truth behind the massacre in Bakersfield, demonstrating how the government is feeding the public lies in order to control their way of thought. After accomplishing this feet Richards feels that it is time for him to pay Killian a timely visit in the studio.......
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