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Amongst Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arsenal of action gems is THE RUNNING MAN ($25). Set in the not too distant future, THE RUNNING MAN is based on the Richard Bachman (a.k.a. Stephen King) novel about a world where people literally live and die by television ratings. Schwarzenegger stars as Ben Richards, a man imprisoned for killing 1500 people during a food riot. Despite his superior’s orders to fire on a large group of rioters, Richards actually tried to terminate the mission, and ended up the government’s scapegoat for the incident. Richards manages to escape from prison, but is recaptured and ends up as a contestant on The Running Man.

The Running Man is the nation’s highest rated game show, with a premise that allows convicts to literally run for their lives. Convicts have a chance of pardon, if they can survive the Stalkers sent out to kill them as they make their way through the burnt out streets of Los Angeles. Richard Dawson gives a perfectly slimy performance as the self-absorbed game show host who doesn’t care who he kills for higher ratings. The cast of THE RUNNING MAN also features Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, Mick Fleetwood and Dweezil Zappa. THE RUNNING MAN is effectively director by Paul Michael Glaser, who really should have had a lot more high profile projects in the decade since this film was made.

Live Entertainment has made THE RUNNING MAN available on DVD in a Letterboxed presentation which restores most of the film’s proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The transfer itself has respectable image quality and color reproduction, but doesn’t realize the full potential of the DVD format. A couple of years ago, the transfer would have been considered very good, but technology has pushed the limits of the NTSC system far beyond what this transfer delivers. Digital compression artifacts were seldom overtly noticeable on this DVD.

The two-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack decoded in the Pro-Logic mode, offering a fairly good sonic representation of a late eighties’ Dolby Surround track. There are some good directional effects, plus the track has atmosphere, but pales in comparison to a full Dolby Digital re-mix.

The DVD’s interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, plus the scene selection feature and English captioning.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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