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Running Man DVD Review

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Talk about your timely releases. With reality TV at its peak (and hopefully its downfall soon enough), we get the 1987 Arnold favorite Running Man on special edition DVD. Artisan went all out for this release, much like they do almost all of their releases. Though the special features are questionable, the new print and remixed sound make for a more than worthy purchase.

The government has completely taken over in 2019. Everything is censored. Everything except the most popular show on TV of course. The Running Man is the futuristic equivalent of Survivor, taken to the extreme. Criminals have a chance at getting pardoned if they can survive for the duration of the game, but to do so, they must avoid the stalkers. These guys will do all they can to make sure the contestants/hardend criminals have no chance at making it out alive. Of course, Arnold gets caught up in the mess for a crime he didn’t commit and must not only survive the game, but prove his innocence as well.

This is one of those movies where half of your brain is in shock that your actually watching this, while the other half just goes right along for the ride. It’s almost a B-movie in its execution, but you can’t help but be enthralled by its goofiness. With Richard Dawson as the shows host, Jesse Ventura as a stalker, and a big fat guy wearing a diaper with Christmas lights attached to himself trying to kill Arnold, how can you go wrong? It’s not going down as a classic, but you’ll surely walk away with some fond memories after watching this one.

Artisan has went all out to remater this one. This 2-disc set offers the widescreen version on disc 1 and those who are too stubborn to change get full screen on disc 2. The print is outstanding, only dropping a notch during sequences of extreme color. The print has a hard time with bright reds (which the movie has alot of), but every scratch and other imperfection has been completely taken care of.

Even thought the video is impressive, the sound slaughters it. Remixed in both 5.1 EX and the unbelievable 6.1DTS-ES, this is the greatest sounding 80’s movie I’ve ever heard. There’s always seems to be SOMETHING going on in the rear channels for the entire running time. It’s the most immersive soundfield imaginable. If you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a game show audience, well, here’s the perfect way to find out.

The special features included here are bordeline stupid, but at least there’s something. The 2 commentary tracks are the highlight and feature Tim Zinnemann with Paul Glaser on track 1. Commentary 2 features the executive producer Rob Cohen going solo. The other extras are spread across the 2 discs. The first 25 minute documentary is a look at the government in a post 9/11 world. It covers the patriot act and features various people speaking about how they are completely taking over our lives. It comes off as a paranoia piece and has very little to do with the movie itself. Censorship was never the movies main focus.

Disc 2 takes a look at reality TV and how it has affected our culture. The 23 minute spot features various Survivor players, Real World producers, etc while they. talk about how it became such a phenomenon and even offer some behind the scenes facts. A few parallels are drawn to the Running Man, but it still offers no insight into the movie itself. The only other feature is a “Meet the Stalkers” text based menu which offers up various facts on the movies funniest chracters. There are no documentaries of any type on how the film was made and that’s a huge dissapointment. Also, this most likely would’ve been a single disc release but the inclusion of the pathetic full screen version was obviously too much for one disc. Note that no commentaries are available for the full screen version.

This is a classic flick for those who are able to just sit back, relax, and have a great time with their movies. It’s got Arnold in his prime doing what he does best, a great backstory, and lots of people getting killed. How can you go wrong? Hopefully, we’ll eventually get treated to a DVD that actually covers the movie extensively and not just boring filler material.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.