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The Running Man (Special Edition)

3.9 out of 5 stars 422 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this action thriller based on an early story by Stephen King, Los Angeles in the year 2017 has become a police state in the wake of the global economy's total collapse. All forms of entertainment are government controlled, and the most popular show on television is an elaborate game show in which convicted criminals are given a chance to escape by running through a gauntlet of brutal killers known as "Stalkers." Anyone who survives is given their freedom and a condominium in Hawaii, so when a wrongly accused citizen (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is chosen as a contestant, all hell breaks loose. Cheesy sets and a slimy role for game-show host Richard Dawson make this violent mess of mayhem a candidate for guilty pleasure; it is the kind of movie that truly devoted Arnold fans will want to watch more than once. And check those credits--choreography by Paula Abdul! "--Jeff Shannon"

Additional Features

Like many of the Governor's other DVD releases (Total Recall, Predator, and The Terminator 2: Judgment Day, to name a few) The Running Man has gone through various technical and bonus upgrades. Fans will not be disappointed with Lions Gate's latest, double-disc release of The Running Man (Special Edition). This is the first anamorphic (1.85:1) release and the first time the film has been presented in DTS 6.1 ES and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. Without a doubt, this version is the best-looking and -sounding edition available. This is also the only edition to include a feature-length commentary; in this case, it's two. The first is with director Paul Michael Glaser and producer Tim Zinneman, the second with executive producer Rob Cohen. Both are geared more toward production than the themes and stories presented in the film, which is more or less appropriate considering The Running Man is first and foremost an action film that incorporates a few socio-political themes (reality TV, subjective media, and life in a high-security governmental state). Looking at the documentaries included in this set, however, you would think it was the other way around. Though well produced, the documentaries seem a little out of place. "Lockdown on Main Street" focuses on current post-9/11 issues with privacy and criminals. Though there is a common thread between the film and current events, using an '80s action film to discuss the controversial issue of privacy in a post-9/11 world comes across as a little tacky. The second documentary, "Game Theory," which focuses on reality TV and its cultural impact, is a little more on the mark and more relevant, but at times feels like a bit of a stretch. All in all, The Running Man (Special Edition) pretty much has got everything the Schwarzenegger and Richard Bachman (a.k.a. Stephen King) fan could want, other than an Arnold and King commentary. --Rob Bracco

Special Features

  • "Lockdown on Main Street": a documentary about the current state of privacy and criminal issues in a post-9/11 society
  • "Game Theory": an inside look at reality-TV programming and its cultural impact on society
  • "Meet the Stalkers": obtain inside information about the deadliest foes in The Running Man

Product Details

  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura
  • Directors: Paul Michael Glaser
  • Writers: Stephen King, Steven E. de Souza
  • Producers: George Linder, Keith Barish, Rob Cohen, Tim Zinnemann
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), English (DTS ES 6.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001932ZA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,794 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Running Man (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on August 16, 2002
Format: DVD
In this wry and entertaining take on a world gone crazy, where corporate rulers routinely engage popular sport activities to distill public anger and frustration and to try to distract common people from civic unrest, we find perpetual everyman Arnold Schwarzenegger caught in the vise-grip of official lies when he escapes from maximum security prison only to be caught and selected as the latest "contestant" (read `intended victim' here) for the overwhelmingly popular television program called, appropriately enough, "Running Man". The point of the game is for the contestant to survive being hunted down by a sewerful of villains while trying to make his way through a nightmarish maze. The villains are a bit campy, ranging from an outrageously garbed electric man who dispatches virtual lightning bolts to fry his prey out of existence to a chainsaw freak who attempts to hack his victims to death while riding his motorcycle.
Yet the action sequences more than make up for the sometimes-silly dialogue. The supporting cast is composed of veterans like Richard Dawson as the venomous game-show host and producer, who manipulates every aspect of the game to reach the storyline he has laid out. There are also a lot of cameos here, from Mick Fleetwood as a revolutionary to Jessie "The Body" Ventura as a sports commentator to Jim Brown as one of the slayers. The special effects are well done, and the action sequences provide plenty of vicarious violence for the moviegoer. Of course, Arnie has a waft of throwaway one-liners, and we know we are in the hands of experience when he tells Dawson the "he'll be back". Dawson, of course, not knowing whom he is dealing with, blows off the threat.
But the moviegoer knows Arnie will be back, and that he will win the day.
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1 Comment 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
You know the movie, so I'll cut to the details of this particular release...

The newly-remastered picture is so much clearer and more vivid than the original release and the DTS soundtrack is an awesome addition. After having heard it, I would've bought it for the DTS, alone. Who knew that a 17-year-old, stereo movie could be remastered to DTS quality and 6.1 surround so well (including very targeted use of the rear channels).

The extras are another story, as many people have stated. The "Lockdown on Main Street" is a thoroughly one-sided political statement. Regardless of anyone's beliefs, it doesn't belong on an action movie DVD. It feels like execs at Artisan were determined to put this documentary out there and picked "The Running Man" from their upcoming catalog as the best suitor.

The "Game Theory" documentary is just a piece in which creators and participants of early reality TV shows pat themselves on the back for their popularity. Perhaps fans of Survivor and other early reality TV will find it interesting, but I didn't.

In summary, the new remastering of the movie is "special," but nothing else on either of the discs is. As someone else said, buy it for the movie. It really is one of the best remastering jobs that I've ever seen (or heard).
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By A Customer on August 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Efficient action movie vehicle for Schwarzenegger, starring as a framed convicted killer who becomes one of the contestants in sick television game show. He's pursued across a devastated Los Angeles in the year 2019 by trained hitmen. Stephen King's novel with its echoes of The Most Dangerous Game, provides an effective framework for Arnie's tough-guy act, and director Glaser expertly orchestrates the state-of-the-art special effects, nasty violence and unpleasant humor.
All I've forgotten is the Girl. All movies like this need a Girl, whose function is to be pulled helplessly behind the hero as he attempts his escape. By casting Maria Conchita Alonso in the role, the filmmakers got more than they bargained for; she remains one of Hollywood's undaunted high spirits, a nice comic counterfoil for Schwarzenegger.
The movie's problem is that all of the action scenes are versions of the same scenario. TV host Dawson introduces a killer and his trademark weapons (electical shock, fire, chain saws, etc.) and then Schwarzenegger faces him in battle. The one element in the movie that is not standard and that does have some energy is the TV show itself, with Dawson's performance as the egotistical, sleaze-bag host.
Playing a character who always seems three-quarters drunk, Dawson chain-smokes his way through backstage planning sessions and then pops up in front of the cameras as a cauldron of false jollity. Working the audience, milking the laughs and the tears, he is not really much different than most genuine game show hosts - and that's the movie's private joke.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
There have been a few movies criticizing or commenting on reality TV shows such as the recent The Hunger Games or the interesting Jim Carrey film, The Truman Show.

Originally written as a Stephen King novel, this film could be considered the granddaddy of reality TV movies.

The Justice Department has an Entertainment Division where they send hardened criminals to participate in the Running Man TV series, hosted by Killian (Richard Dawson, an actual TV host at the time of filming). They send dissidents to participate and they often end up killed by Stalkers while the audiences cheer on and make bets on the outcome.

This dystopian view is quite amazing. The special effects are however reminiscent of Logan's Run in their cheesiness. Still, Arnold getting himself trapped and yet winning against the stalkers, the evil undercurrent that the show gives us, under the watchful eye of Dawson's character, and finally the struggle for freedom against an oppressive government (a bit heavy handedly) makes for some interesting yet thought-provoking moments.

The DVD I had also includes the reality of governments taking over and usurping freedoms, specifically an attack on the Patriot's Act right after 9/11. This piece is quite one-sided and if you're not a believer on conspiracy theories, you can skip this one.

Part of the two-part DVD is a short on the reality show and how it's "here to stay" at least circa 1990s, with interviews by former Survivor stars and how the director of Running Man relates his film to present time reality TV.

Bottom Line: It's a fun film to watch! However the political and opinionated features may be off-putting. Modern reality TV as of 2012 is less pervasive from what I've seen.
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