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Los Angeles in the year 2017. The world has suffered total economic collapse. Television is controlled by the government, and the impoverished masses are placated with violent shows. Most popular of all is a gladiatorial game show called "The Running Man." The contestants are convicts who
are made to run through a course that pits them against a variety of outlandish killers known as "Stalkers." If a contestant manages to survive, his prizes are amnesty and a condo in Hawaii. Presiding over the spectacle is Damon Killian (Richard Dawson), a supremely slimy game show host who is the
evil genius behind the entire affair. Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a former government officer who was imprisoned for refusing to slaughter unarmed rioters, looks like a contestant who could boost the ratings. With a wholly derivative concept, confused scripting, and incredibly sloppy
direction, THE RUNNING MAN is a frustrating experience. The sets are fairly simple, the effects are kept to a minimum, the crowd scenes are laughably sparse, the action scenes are repetitive and wholly unimaginative, and director Paul Michael Glaser simply lets his actors flounder. Only Richard
Dawson--brilliantly cast--redeems this mess with a superior performance.