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running man poster

The Running Man

In 2017, the economy has collapsed and society has become a police state, censoring all cultural activity. The government pacifies the populace by broadcasting a number of game shows in which convicted criminals fight for their lives. The most popular and sadistic of these shows is The Running Man, hosted by the ruthless Damon Killian (Richard Dawson).

Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is a pilot of a police helicopter gunship. He is ordered to fire upon unarmed civilians during a food riot in Bakersfield, California, but refuses to do so. His fellow police officers overpower him and kill the civilians. Richards is turned into a scapegoat by state propaganda for the massacre and is imprisoned. Altered footage of the event appears on national television.

Eighteen months later, Richards is shown imprisoned in a labor camp, where he plots his escape with two other prisoners, William Laughlin (Yaphet Kotto) and Harold Weiss (Marvin J. McIntyre). Prisoners are detained through the use of C-4 explosive collars placed on their necks. Harold Weiss learns the collars' deactivation code, and Richards and Laughlin stage a fight to cover their escape.

The three escape to a shanty town hideout on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Richards decides to visit his brother's apartment in the city. He enters only to find out it is now occupied by news reporter Amber Mendez (Alonso), who works for ICS, the network that broadcasts The Running Man. She explains that Richards' brother was taken away for 're-education'. Enraged, Richards kidnaps Amber and plans to fly to Hawaii. While at the airport, she manages to alert security; Richards is caught. Again altered footage of the event appears on national television, which says that Richards shot innocent people. Amber notices and says to herself, "that's not true", as she saw Ben Richards herself merely trying to escape to freedom, and he carried no weapon at the airport.

Richards is taken to the Running Man studios in downtown Los...

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