Stephen King's literary talent must be spinning in its grave right now.
Donkey: As I found out one day in Japan when an elderly man managing a fast food joint felt it necessary to come running out of the kitchen to give me a lesson on how to eat a hamburger due to what he perceived as severe retardation on my part, translation can be a real bitch. I guess something about my body language was signaling to this gentleman that I was going to attempt to ingest his carefully crafted sandwich using my crotch and the power of osmosis, but considering how proud I was of myself for actually managing to order food without ending up with a hot plate of octopus testicles, I wasn’t about to push my luck and argue with him. But it’s not just language where this kind of misinterpretation can come into play.
Any time that a story is translated into a movie from nearly any other medium, the result is usually garbled enough that you’d think that the script was written by two men conversing over Morse code in the middle of a 9.5 earthquake on the Richter scale. For example, we’ve proven time and time again on this site that movies based on videogames are usually complete ass, even if the game itself was of the highest quality. But while that hypothesis might not be obvious to most people, seeing as until recent years you needed a strong eye glass prescription, an aversion to bathing, and -25 charisma to play videogames, the theory that movies based on books are almost always worse than the source material seems to be universally accepted as fact. And this week’s film is no exception to that rule.
Donkey: The Running Man was originally a book written by Stephen King, published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. And say what you will about his recent work, as Stephen King seems to pump out novels faster than future Christian soldiers Slip-N-Slide out of a Mormon woman’s vagina, his early work was pretty goddamn good. In this particular tome, we enter a dystopian future where Ben Richards, a blacklisted lower class man, desperately needs to find money to purchase medication for his daughter. With no other options left, he applies for the government sponsored game show called The Running Man, where he is released into the public and given a 12 hour head start before being declared an enemy of the state. While being relentlessly hunted by a pack of government hitmen called Hunters, Ben must avoid even the general public who are encouraged to report any sightings of the Running Man, and survive as long as he can. He’s paid for every hour that he’s still alive, with the ultimate prize of a billion dollars paid if he’s still breathing after 30 days. But after managing to endure longer than any other contestant in the history of the show, Ben Richards learns of an incredibly brutal betrayal that he has suffered at the hands of the government and decides to exact his revenge.
Sounds pretty interesting, huh? Now remove Ben Richard’s daughter as motivation, instead making him an unwilling contestant in the show. Then instead of letting him loose in public, drop him into a “Game Zone”, which is basically an enclosed theme riddled amusement park of the future where he must battle a series of live action Mega Man X527 mini-boss rejects for the prize of his freedom. And finally equip him with nothing more than an Austrian accent and an arsenal of lethal one-liners. Sounds much worse, huh? It is, but goddamn it’s hilarious.
The Case for Greatness (aka The Lowlights):
Exhibit A: Hasta La Vista, Government Pension
Hey guys, I think I can see my house from here.
Donkey: The movie begins in the year 2017 where we bare witness to the immaculate monument to shrunken testicles, Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing the title role of Ben Richards, and detailing his Greg Louganis-like dive from grace. A cop who takes his morality almost as seriously as he takes injecting horse steroids into his taint, Arnie pilots a helicopter load of squadmates over to a riot of 1,500 people. But when he is ordered to eliminate everyone in sight, he refuses, exclaiming that they’re innocent people just trying to get food. To all those supposedly rational people whom have criticized the fact that Arnie is the governor of California, calling his victory in the election “shocking” or “scandalously fucktarded” or “one of the biblical signs of Armageddon”, I produce this moment as an undisputable retort: Arnie once played a character that showed compassion. Checkmate, bitches. If that doesn’t segue you directly into control of the third largest economy in the world, I don’t know what will. However, the police force of the future will not be denied its bloodlust. When the rest of the squad is ordered to take control of the helicopter, arrest Richards, and proceed with “Operation: 45 Caliber Thundershower“, Arnie starts beating his fellow officers like red-headed stepchildren before they finally get the upper hand, singing him the gentle lullaby of a rifle to the teeth.
Exhibit B: Future Technology – Increasing Your Prison Break Efficiency By 75 Percent
Flash forward 18 months and we once again catch up with the Governor of My Pants, this time convicted and serving his sentence in what appears to be a prison/smelting factory which detains its prisoners using a sonic barrier that triggers an explosion in the metal collar of anyone who tries to do the Achey Breakey past its ridiculously large illuminated posts. But it’s going to take a lot more than an explosive threat to the least exercised appendage of his body to keep Arnold locked up forever. He and two friends that have spent the last year tossing his salad, Weiss and Laughlin, devise a scheme to escape so brilliant and diabolical that humankind may never again match its genius. Keep in mind that escaping from prison is usually a highly complicated, carefully orchestrated process and one that can be the subject of an entire film. Not so in this case. Its brilliance is so profound that the whole thing takes less than 10 minutes.
With password security like this, I'm surprised the perimeter fence isn't a series of rotating doors.
So how do they break out of this maximum security penitentiary of the future, you ask? Dig this: Arnie’s skinny white pal, Weiss, stands about 10 feet away from a guard sitting in front of a laptop at a tiny table in the middle of the goddamn plant floor and watches over his shoulder as the dude enters the password for the security barrier. That’s retarded enough, but what’s especially mindfucking about it is that he doesn’t watch the guard’s fingers hitting the keys of the keyboard or anything like that. No, no – he just watches the screen as the guard types, because the goddamn password is displayed in a font so fucking big that you could see it from a low flying commuter flight. And not only is the password displayed in a way that hasn’t been acceptable since 1982, but it’s also a grand total of 5 characters long. That kind of spectacular absurdity is impressive enough on its own, but that’s only step one of the plan. After signaling to Arnie and Laughlin that he was able to see the code, step two begins in earnest as the two men start a phony fight to create a distraction. But rather than coming over to break it up, guards simply start shooting fools left and right, thus eliminating the entire point of the distraction in the first place, as it would have been just as effective to have kicked the closest guard in the balls and take your chances from there. Regardless, Arnie and Laughlin immediately break off from their struggle and take out nearby guards, grabbing their rifles and firing back as a full scale riot begins. Taking control of a nearby laptop, Weiss tries to deactivate the perimeter fence using the code, but he doesn’t realize that another guard at another terminal is jamming his signal. Too excited to wait, one of the prisoners makes a run for it when the gate begins to waiver. But just before he crosses, the fence activates again, triggering his collar and causing an explosion of hilarity. Finally seeing that they’re being jammed, Arnie shoots the guard at the other terminal, allowing Weiss to finally drop the fence. With a sigh of victory, Arnie sits back in quiet reflection as all the prisoners now rush out to freedom. I’d like to think that he’s either taking a moment to marvel at how no one ever thought to pull off this ridiculously easy feat up to this point, or he’s finally letting a fart rip that he’s been holding the entire battle, assuming that everyone is too excited to notice.
Jesus, Arnie, light a fucking match! Thank you!
Attempting to maintain a very tenuous grasp on their newfound freedom, Arnie and his pals seek out the underground resistance, moving through dark inner city streets as a giant monitor above them plays an ad for the nation’s favorite game show, The Running Man. It doesn’t really surprise me that the ad is just a series of clips of the show itself strung together, but I’m amazed that it’s a montage of footage of this movie itself, basically showing you a little peek at the things to come because they’re too fucking lazy to film some random extra getting slapped around for five minutes. But eventually our Super Friends find the group they’re looking for and implore them for help to remove their explosive collars. Moments later they’re taken into a secret lair where they come face to face with the resistance and its leader…Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac? And if that’s not random enough, he’s even playing a character named, you guessed it, Mick. That’s kind of a shame…I was hoping it was going to be Eddie Money. But anyways, Mick is kind enough to give them the help that they need, removing their collars and tossing them into a reinforced toilet to explode seconds later, which naturally begs the question that if the government can rig those things so that they’d explode when removed, why wouldn’t they set them up so that they could remotely detonate them on command in the case of a breakout like this? I guess that was too far fetched in 1987’s vision of 2017. Once their collars are off, Arnie, Weiss, and Laughlin all go their separate ways, each one shedding a quiet tear for all the handjobs that they’re leaving behind.
Exhibit C: Come On Down…You’re The Next Contestant In My Nightmare
Killian didn't know what he was in for when a staff member offered to show him his "Royal Albert", but he learned soon enough.
Now that our hero has been properly introduced, it’s time for the film’s evil mastermind to make his first appearance. At the head office of ICS, the government television network that produces a series of ridiculous game shows including The Running Man, the show’s host, Killian, rolls up in a remarkably ugly limo that looks like an oversized red Datsun while legions of adoring fans surround him and scream like idiots. Killian is of course played by Richard Dawson, who was himself a host of the game shows Family Feud and Match Game, which is a happy coincidence since I often wished contestants on those shows would be hunted for sport. After proving his intense evilness by demanding that a kindly old janitor be fired, Killian meets with a team of corporate Yes-men to decide on the show’s next contestant. After going through a small group of misfits that are summarily rejected, they watch footage of Arnie breaking out of prison, specifically a slow motion shot of him running, when Killian gets a poorly hidden erection and declares that he has to get a piece of that, calling contacts in the Justice Department to pull a few strings.
While the arrangements for his capture, entry into the game show, and inevitable corpse raping are being made, Arnie turns to the one source of comfort and support that he has outside of prancing through weightlifting rooms in tight shorts, his brother. But as he breaks into the apartment where his brother last lived, he finds that his brother’s stuff has been replaced by someone who apparently moved in straight from 1985. His suspicions are confirmed seconds later when a random chick named Amber arrives home, voice activating all of her appliances, including the television which is showing a fucking awesome show called Captain Freedom’s Workout featuring Jesse Ventura, and begins to exercise. She’s not actually exercising along with the show, which means that she actually watching it purely for its entertainment value or for Jesse’s sweet manboobs. Sneaking up above her as she bench presses a solid 3 lbs, Arnie grabs Amber and demands to know where his brother is when she explains that he was taken away by the government a month ago for “re-education”. Sweet! Hopefully he’s at the DeVry Institute, finally getting that certificate in TV/VCR Repair that he’s always talked about. But as Arnie lets the news sink in, Amber starts screaming and running around like a jackass before he finally subdues her, assures her that he is innocent of the charges against him, and then uses her official government travel pass to arrange for them to get the fuck out of town. The best part of this scene is watching him make the arrangements through her television, as the system navigates through Commodore 64 quality menus and makes selections in a manner not even fucking close to the way that he’s mashing his digits into the keyboard. It might as well be going through all these steps while he makes fart sounds and throws Cheetos at the screen, because it wouldn’t be any more out of synch.
Even while being attacked, Amber had to see if she could find a reason why anyone in Minnesota voted for this guy.
With the plans made and their bags packed, Arnold jumps into the gaudiest, most attention grabbing Hawaiian shirt that he can find and takes Amber to the airport. When they hit their first security checkpoint, basic logic and comprehension dictates that their journey should come to an end, but they manage to make their way through the security check point when Arnie presents Amber’s Zone Pass as his own, and then gets told to just move on after she digs in her purse for about 30 seconds looking for hers. Again, that entire thing was far too fucking easy. If this is a dystopian future of government oppression, their prisons should be harder to break out of than a Chuck E Cheese ball pit, and their security checkpoints should involve more scrutiny than Burt Reynolds employs when selecting a new mustache comb. To cut the tension and show that being his captive isn’t all bad, Arnie treats Amber and the rest of us to some signature Arnie Hilarity. When she warns that she might throw up on him, he replies:
Just in case the shirt, hat, and sunglasses weren't enough, Arnie also made sure that his trip through security would be quick by eating 5 lbs of baked beans.
Arnie: “Go ahead. It won’t show on this shirt.”
Fuck yeah. Thanks for pointing out what an eye sore that damn thing is, thus making it a poor choice for a man trying to AVOID attention. Rock on, Arnie! But as they walk through the terminal to their flight, seemingly moments away from Arnie’s complete freedom, Amber makes a last ditch attempt to escape, giving him a punch in the balls before screaming for help. With everyone around them turning to see what the commotion is, Arnie bolts out of the terminal, fleeing exactly where one would if they don’t want to be found: straight out onto the open pavement of the airplane runways. After a brief jog, he’s rounded up by pursuing guards who manage to pacify him with a net gun.
Rather than waking up in a dank cell, spooning with a starving rat for warmth and a taste of forbidden love, Arnie finds himself in an interrogation room at ICS, where Killian waits on the other side of security glass. After explaining that he has made the necessary arrangements for Arnold to compete in the next episode of The Running Man, Killian receives Arnie’s thoughtful, eloquent response:
Arnie: “Fuck you.”
ICS presents their most daring show yet: Racial Tension In A Small Room.
Awesome. But Killian has already anticipated his lack of enthusiasm, so he directs Arnie’s attention to a monitor where he can see his two friends, Weiss and Laughlin, being held in another room. Drowning in self-satisfaction, Killian explains that if Arnie won’t agree to be on the show, they’ll go on in his place. And seeing as they’re a couple of giant pussies, which doesn’t make sense considering they were convicts who managed to survive prison, Arnie knows that this is almost assuredly a death sentence. Seeing as he’s a decent man in an indecent time, Arnie reluctantly agrees and allows himself to be subjected to a series of rigorous tests, none of which seem like they have any influence whatsoever over any aspect of the movie to come, before he’s finally thrown into a room and gassed until show time. That seems pretty goddamn unnecessary. Let the guy have a nap, sure, but waking up after being gassed is going to leave you groggy enough that unless the name of the show is going to be changed to The Stumbling Man, it’s a pretty goddamn stupid idea.
As Arnie’s prime time network debut draws near, likely in the timeslot just after Two And A Half Men so that the home audience has built up the prerequisite amount of violent rage, Amber begins to realize that he might not have been lying when he proclaimed his innocence. Just before seeing an ad for one of the greatest game shows ever conceived by man, Climbing For Dollars, where a contestant climbs a rope and grabs cash that’s taped to it while avoiding pitfalls that are attempting to knock them down to the hungry dogs waiting below, she watches a news story on the capture of Ben Richards. It shows gory imagery of the dozen people at the airport that they claim he killed while trying to escape, which she knows for a fact wasn’t the case. Later while Amber and a coworker are feeding a week’s pay worth of change into a vending machine in the halls of the ICS building, Arnie is marched past her on his way to the show. Having to look into the face of the man that she’s sent to her nationally televised and assuredly awesome doom, she becomes even more uncertain and decides to do some investigating of her own. She sneaks her way into an archive room, looking in a filing cabinet and finding two copies of the footage of Arnie’s arrest, an event that has become known as “The Bakersfield Massacre”. One is labeled “raw footage” while the other is “edited for television”. It sure is convenient that they just left those lying around in a goddamn filing cabinet. I’m surprised the cabinet itself isn’t labeled “DAMNING EVIDENCE OF CORRUPTION”. But just after she discovers and grabs the files, she is grabbed from behind by a mystery arm of justice.
Random dancers: every bit as timeless as acid wash jeans.
And with that, the long awaited episode of the greatest show in the history of humankind finally begins. As crowds file into the studio audience and people begin to tune in on positively archaic televisions in bars around the country, the program begins with a group of Solid Gold Dancers, who couldn’t look more fucking 80s if they were being led by Alf and Punky Brewster. Of course, the entire concept of opening a goddamn game show with dancers is something that could only have seemed even remotely cool in the 80’s, specifically between March 13th and September 4th, 1985. And while everyone settles in for the spectacle to begin, the court appointed attorney assigned to Arnie finally finishes reading the contract required to participate in the show, asking him to sign the document by saying, “use my back, victim.” Arnie obliges, signing the document and then slamming the pen between his shoulder blades, dropping another awesome line through a shit-eating grin:
Arnie: “Don’t forget to send me a copy.”
The only way that could have been better is if he suddenly produced two more pens from out of nowhere, stabbed the dude in the eyes, and said, “…In triplicate, bitch!”
Maybe if you had laid off the steroids, one of the bulges in that suit might not have been so much smaller than all the others.
Once Killian takes the stage to a roar of applause that serves to keep his attention-whore heart beating just a little longer, he introduces this week’s contestant by playing the edited version of the Bakersfield Massacre. The video footage is obviously altered, so that instead of refusing to fire on the crowd, he instead opens a can of piping hot bullet stew, violating direct orders to hold his fire. As the audience reels in horror, Arnold is brought out to “pay the price for the home audience”. Solid Gold Dancers line up to dry hump him as he makes his way across the stage to a chorus of boos, giving me a moment to sit back once again in amazement at how lazy this film is. The footage that they showed from the beginning of the movie was exactly what we saw, featuring the exact same camera angles and edits. So who the fuck was filming them? And where were they filming them from? The one shot is looking directly at Arnie’s face as he’s flying, including several close-ups, so is the cameraman clinging to the front of the helicopter, filming through the windshield? But just to show that the game is really afoot, the dancers tear off his coveralls to reveal a sweet gold jumpsuit, blinding the first three rows of the audience with Liberace flair. Now that he’s sufficiently FABULOUS!, they strap him into the pod that will rocket him into the Game Zone before Killian announces that Arnie won’t be working alone, revealing Weiss and Laughlin, who are strapped into similar pods, will be joining him. Then, almost as if they forgot about it since it makes so little goddamn difference to the movie at all, Killian stops to explain the rules of the game, telling us all that the Game Zone is comprised of 400 square blocks left over from the “Big Quake of 1997”, which is broken down into quadrants. The runners have 3 hours to get through all four quadrants while being pursued by the Stalkers. And with that, they’re FINALLY about to launch Arnie into the official game when he gives us his signature line, which has long since gotten quite tired. But it is Killian’s response that’s pure gold, as it is probably the greatest retort that Arnie has received in any of the movies that he’s made that famous proclamation:
Arnie: “Killian…I’ll be back.”
Killian: “Only in a rerun.”
On Killian’s mark, Arnie and the Super Friends then have their sleds rocket down a series of tubes, traveling at ridiculously high speeds. This makes me think back to one of our first movie, Motal Kombat: Annihilation. In that movie, the heroes warped around using tunnels that passed through the center of the Earth, taking them anywhere they wanted on the face of the planet within minutes. And yet those things moved like an elderly woman in a walker compared to the Olympic sprint that these things move at. It’s insane. But even better is that once they reach their destinations, the sleds pop out of the tubes and are stopped violently by plastic protection nets, ensuring that 95 percent of the show’s contestants will have their neck broken before a Stalker comes anywhere near them.
Exhibit D: Mini-Boss 1 – Stick Handling Of Death
Please observe my giant codpiece of doom! Ha ha!
Just as our heroes get ejaculated out of their respective tubes and into a giant mesh handkerchief, Killian goes into the live studio audience and asks a woman to choose the game’s first Stalker to be sent out after them. After blubbering on about some soccer mom bullshit that even Killian barely has the patience to sit through, the woman finally makes her selection and we are formally introduced to the first mini-boss of this bullshit: Professor Sub-Zero. Yes, you read that right. Professor Sub-Zero. And who exactly is he? Played by the Asian dude whom was Oddjob in Goldfinger, he’s a Samurai Ice Hockey Player on skates who is equipped with sort-of-not-really hockey pads and a metal ice hockey goalie’s stick with an actual blade on it. Wow. Whoever’s brain shit out that idea should have been wearing a mental diaper that day, because that’s completely useless. Unless they happen to wonder onto an ice surface, he’s pretty goddamn useless. But wouldn’t you know it, Arnie and his pals are running through the Game Zone when they duck into a building that just happens to be, no shit, a makeshift hockey rink complete with giant cameras, barb wire fencing, and trap goals. Stopping to wonder who the fuck would build this mess and why, Sub-Zero suddenly comes charging out of the darkness. The Professor then slaps them all around for a while, using not only his goalie stick but also exploding pucks that he shoots at his victims. Exploding pucks. Seriously. Of course, I’d love to know how those pucks are crafted so that they don’t explode when they’re hit by a stick, as opposed to when they hit their target. After several painfully uninteresting minutes, Arnie manages to get a string of barbed wire ripped down from the fencing and tangled around the Professor’s throat, quickly chocking the life out of him. And just like that, the first mini-boss is destroyed. But it’s not enough just to kill him. Arnie yells at the camera:
Arnie: “Hey, Killian. Here is Sub-Zero. Now, plain zero.”
While the others were practicing their katana strikes, he was working on his defense and puck protection. Who's laughing now?
Arnold, what the fuck does that mean? Watching in stunned silence as the Super Friends walk away giving each other high fives, the show honors the fallen Stalker with a few seconds of silence before pitching as remorsefully as possible to a commercial. Because nothing honors a man’s death quite like someone barking at me about how Bounty paper towel is “the quicker picker upper”. And as our heroes continue their stroll of victory, Weiss remarks that he’s sure glad that they were able to take care of Sub-Zero, to which Arnie responds:
Arnie: “Yeah, he was a pain in the neck.”
Exhibit E: Mini-Boss 2 – The Lumberjack And The…What The Fuck Is That?
A relentless killing machine, yes, but Buzzsaw's real passion was for ice sculpture.
Despite the grizzly death of a man of higher learning, the show must go on! Killian once again asks another audience member to pick the next Stalker, but the man struggles with having to choose between two of his favorites. Anxious to just get on with it, Killian says fuck it and decides to send both of them: Buzzsaw and Dynamo. Buzzsaw is sweet, being a freaky Mad Max lumberjack on Crystal Meth with a chainsaw who rides around on a motor bike while screaming and looking like he’s been trying to unsuccessfully squeeze the same shit out of his ass for the last decade, but Dynamo absolutely takes the cake of awesomeness. He’s a fat guy stuffed into a suit covered in light bulbs, almost like he’s wearing a Lite Brite on his chest, with a massive fucking Spartan helmet who sings opera music as he shoots electricity out of wrist cannons. Oh, and he drives around in a post-Apocalyptic dune buggy that a team of four migrant workers needs to help airlift him in and out of. Right about now, I’m not sure how anyone could possibly expect me to take this movie seriously.
I know it's hard to tell, but he's actually lighting a sign that says, "Clap if you love All-You-Can-Eat Buffets".
Once those two are introduced, Killian presents the audience with another surprise in the form of an additional runner: Amber. Seeing as how she had the audacity to snoop through poorly concealed documents in an attempt to find out the truth about a man she condemned, they decide to manufacture a story about her being a degenerate and sex-crazed genital crab farmer and toss her down to be killed with Arnie. Of course, even the simplest of brains would probably predict that one woman on her own in a desolate wasteland being hunted by professional killers while looking to catch up with three men who not only got a significant head start on her, but are also not traveling to any one particular destination would probably come to the conclusion that she’s more fucked than a virgin choirboy after the blood of Christ gets passed around. But then as we’ll soon discover, any movie with an overweight operatic Christmas tree doesn’t exactly follow basic thought patterns.
Back in the darkness, the Super Friends are making their way further through the rubble when Weiss notices that a bunch of random satellite terminals around them are all pointing to the center of the Game Zone. He quickly surmises that the uplink to the ICS network satellite, which the underground rebellion has been trying to find a way into ever since its conception, must be there. While Arnie complains about how stupid it is to worry about something like that while they’re being hunted by shitty characters from a horrible Saturday morning cartoon, Weiss and Laughlin simply ignore him and run off in that direction. Shaking his head, Arnie has no choice but to follow along. And they don’t get far before hearing someone quickly approaching them. They hide in the darkness, preparing to ambush their attacker when they discover that it’s Amber. Yep, she caught up with them that fast. But no sooner has she joined them than their two newest adversaries burst onto the scene in their respective vehicles of shame. Splitting up, Arnie and Laughlin head off while being chased by Buzzsaw, leaving Amber and Weiss to run from Dynamo.
Seriously, I'll walk away from this fight right now if you just have some Ex-Lax on you.
We start with the battle of the heavyweights, as Laughlin and Arnie find themselves in a long dark alley where Buzzsaw begins ripping past them on his bike, wildly swinging his chainsaw at them as he gets within range. After Laughlin gets hit by such an attack, which mortally wounds him but for some strange reason doesn’t send his insides spraying all over the place like someone sneezed with a mouthful of chili, Arnold tries to help him flee when he’s snared by Buzzsaw and dragged along behind the bike while he rips around the site in loops. But while being dragged along on your stomach while wearing nothing more than a jumpsuit would systematically shred any sign of manhood that a normal person would have, the Governator is up to the test, managing to wrap the two line dragging him around a some random rebar, which causes Buzzsaw to do his best Superman imitation once the line goes taught. Now that the two are on equal footing and should both being suffering from massive internal damage, Arnie and Buzzsaw grapple with the chainsaw between them, each trying to push it into the other. And since they’re at a standstill, it’s time for them to spit out some more classic dialogue:
Buzzsaw: “I love this saw. This saw is part of me. And I’m gonna make it a part of you!”
Arnie: “That’s alright. Keep it.”
And with that, Arnie slowly wrestles the chainsaw down between Buzzsaw’s legs before bringing it up into his crotch, making every single male who has ever watched this movie simultaneously wince. With another enemy disposed of, Arnie goes back to check on Laughlin, who makes Arnie swear to do whatever he can to help the resistance before dying.
Quick, hit him with a red shell!
Back with Amber and Weiss, who couldn’t wrestle a precocious housecat to the ground between the two of them, manage to elude Dynamo and find the network’s satellite uplink, exactly where Weiss had predicted that it would be. With Amber keeping watch, Weiss finds an access panel and hack into the system. How the fuck does he hack into a system that he’s never seen before, you ask? We’ll say with the power of a mother’s love. Once inside, he manages to get the access code, which he makes Amber memorize so that at least one of them can get it to the resistance. But just as they finish reviewing the last number, Dynamo steps into the area and blasts Weiss with electricity, instantly killing him. Amber screams, drawing the attention of Arnie who naturally comes to her rescue, interrupting Dynamo as he tries to pin Amber to the ground. Arnie starts running, challenging Dynamo to catch him, which for some reason he obliges. But since Dynamo is too chubby to get up off a toilet without help, he goes back to his dune buggy rather than taking a single step to chase Arnie, giving chase until his prey manages to run up a slope too steep for his car to follow, so he ends up rolling it over several times before lying helplessly in the wreckage, begging the show to go to a commercial break and save him. Keep in mind that in this particular case, saving him would entail delivering two pizzas and a bucket of chicken. Walking up to see what remains of his pursuer, Arnie grabs a metal rod and prepares to bash it through Dynamo’s skull as he and the home audience holds their breath in anticipation. But Arnie simply slams it into the ground, exclaiming to the closest camera that he would never hurt a helpless human being, even if it is a lumbering monument to bacon grease. Arnie walks away, leaving Dynamo to rot as the audience erupts in boos. But as the scene closes, once again it’s time for some dialogue to make love to:
Amber: “What happened to Buzzsaw?”
Arnie: “He had to split.”
Fuck, I don’t know about you, but I think that we all came in our pants on that one.
Exhibit F: Mini-boss 3 – More Flaming Than A Rip Taylor Showtunes Party
Right about now the tide of public opinion starts to turn, causing quite a bit of concern for Killian and the rest of ICS. Illegal street betting on which Stalker will score the next kill turns in favor of Arnie, which is unprecedented. Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on this bizarre flood of fame, Killian patches into one of the cameras and viewing screens by Arnie out in the field while the show is on a commercial break and offers him a full time position as the show’s newest Stalker, along with an official government pardon. In response, Arnie tears down the camera from its post and graphically describes the methods in which he’s going to find Killian and molest his corpse.
Flame on, bitches.
So as the show begins again, one of the only remaining Stalkers is sent out into action. His name: Fireball. His deal: he’s a black guy with a shitty skunk hair dye job who wears a silver jumpsuit and a combination jetpack/flamethrower that allows him to fly around, in no way looking like he’s attached to a poorly rigged wire setup, searching for downtrodden family picnics to save by holding an impromptu barbeque. After giving the studio audience a quick demonstration of how a flamethrower works, just in case anyone there had traveled forward from 1903, he rockets off and resumes the hunt where his exceptionally clownish compatriots left off. As we catch up with Arnie and Amber, still making their way through the dark rubble, they notice Fireball making a rather noisy decent and duck into a nearby abandoned factory. As they mark their way through the dark hallways, they eventually come face to face with Fireball whom starts tossing his flaming load in their direction. Eventually the two heroes split up, just before Amber stumbles into a room with three rotting corpses. For some reason she takes the time to look at identification tags that they’re wearing to discover that they’re the three contestants on the show last season who had supposedly won and earned their freedom. As she sits and ponders the meaning of this find, Fireball walks into the room and helps her to understand. She points to them and calls them last year’s winners, which he corrects her by calling them, “last year’s losers.” What? You mean no one actually wins this game? Possibly psychotic prisoners aren’t just let loose back into the public because they happen to successfully avoid a group of useless assclowns paid to hunt them down? I, for one, couldn’t be more stunned, unless you perhaps explained that I needed air to breathe. But as she sits in a corner of the room and waits for Fireball to hit her with his flaming hot load of death, Arnie pops up behind him, ripping out the fuel line in his pack before knocking him to the ground. While Amber takes the opportunity to flee, Arnie pulls out a flare that was just sitting around for God knows what reason and lights it, tossing it at Dynamo’s crotch and delivering another line so brilliant that you’d think this script was written by the undead hand of Shakespeare’s ghost:
Arnie: “How about a light?”
HA! This shit just writes itself, doesn’t it? After a second of screaming in the face of inevitability while Arnie and Amber flee the scene, Fireball goes up in one massive…um…fireball. Wow. That just blew my mind. But even better is Arnie’s follow up comment:
Arnie: “What a hothead.”
Exhibit G: The Final Boss – An Unremarkable Middle-Aged White Guy
Now that they’ve earned a temporary reprieve, Arnie and Amber decide to try to look for Mick and the resistance, searching for their secret broadcast center. And that exhaustive search quite literally lasts less than 30 seconds before they’re trapped and met by Mick himself. With no one apparently watching at this point, seeing as the studio audience is too busy witnessing the Solid Gold Dances doing a homage to the fallen Stalkers, Arnie and Amber are brought into their underground lair. As they argue about whether Weiss and Laughlin dies in complete or merely semi-complete futility, Amber quietly tells them that she has the network satellite uplink code. But before Arnie and the rebels can rejoice and get swept away in a tidal wave of victory high fives, they all turn to a nearby TV as something rather startling begins to play: The Running Man returns from a commercial break to show their deaths.
SMELL MY FINGERS!!!
It seems that with yet another Stalker meeting a horribly painful yet comedic end, Killian has little choice but to pull Captain Freedom out of retirement and send him into battle to quite likely suffer the same fate. But when the Captain refuses to participate, Killian and the boys at ICS are forced to get creative. Doing what they probably should have done a long time ago, they stage a fake battle between Captain Freedom and Arnie in a steel caged arena. In this little piece of digital theater, Amber has her neck snapped quickly before Arnie and Jesse “Captain Freedom” Ventura begin to wrestle around like they’re auditioning for a third rate WWE pay-per-view match. Eventually Jesse manages to overpower the Kindergarten Cop, slamming Arnold into the spiked wall of their cage, impaling him in nearly every vital organ. Of course, the crowd goes wild and doesn’t notice that they cut away from this moment extremely quickly. Once the attention is shifted back to the studio, the digital transformation is removed, revealing that it was Killian’s stereotypically homosexual male make-up artist whom fought in Arnie place and was horribly killed. That’s pretty impressive when you stop to consider that this man is considerably smaller than Arnie in any way, so not only did they have to map Arnie’s face over his, but they also had to digitally increase the size of his entire body. And that’s definitely something that you can put together over the span of a commercial break.
Now that our heroes are officially declared dead, the scene is now set for the final showdown. When Mick explains that he’s sending a squad of young rebels in to prevent the network from blocking them once they take over the network satellite feed, Arnie sees a chance for glory and possibly free finger foods, offering to lead that team. But just as they get ready to depart, Amber suggests that once Mick takes over the feed, he air the raw footage of the Bakersfield Massacre, which she manages to produce. Arnie has a mentally challenged smile sneak slowly across his face before asking where she was hiding that, to which she smiles coyly and tells him that it’s none of his business. Pssstt…I think she means it was in her vagina, so be careful when handling that thing, lest you manage to contract syphilis. As the show comes to it’s conclusion, featuring yet another jazzy number by the fucking dancers, Arnie’s assault group breaks off into two. Just then Mick’s group takes over the broadcast feed, showing a montage that declares that Killian is lying to them all before showing the unedited Bakersfield Massacre complete with the scene where the rifle comes down towards the camera to show Arnie getting hit in the face, as well as cuts of the three dead contestants that were supposed to have won last year. But once again, that footage used for this is comprised of the shots that were used when Amber found the bodies. And yet, the studio audience didn’t witness her discovering them, so when the fuck was that recorded? But as confusing as all this is, the first part of Arnie’s squad bursts into the show’s control room and prevents the technicians from cutting the video off. At the same time, Arnie and the rest of his men enter the studio and begin a firefight with random soldiers who just happen to be there. Panic obviously ensues, but after the audience manages to flee successfully, Arnie and his men manage to kill every last soldier. And while that’s going on, Amber is attacked in the hallways by Dynamo, who shows up once again while still in full costume. Or at least he was before he pulled his pants down to rape Amber, revealing sweet, yet stretched beyond the bounds of human comprehension tighty whities. But as he flops around on top of her, hoping that the penis that he hasn’t actually seen in years still actually works, Amber shoots at the ceilings and manages to set off the fire sprinklers, which of course electrocutes him, but not her.
It takes a remarkable effort for something in this scene to be more tragic than those leopard print pants she's wearing, but sweet God did he succeed.
Hey...you made it back. Tell him what he's won, Lou. A toaster oven!? FUCK!
Back in the studio, everything is eerily silent before Arnie comes face to face with his tormentor. He’s left alone with Killian after Killian’s personal bodyguard decides to leave him to suffer his fate alone, but rather than beat him to death, Arnie simply throws him into a rocket sled. He sends it hurtling through the pipes, rocketing along at the same ridiculous speeds as always. But instead of bursting out of the tube and being stopped by netting, Killian flies into the fucking air for who knows what reason, smashing into a cola billboard with his own face on it, which causes the whole thing to fucking explode. And with that, Arnie gives us one last mouthful of greatness:
Arnie: “Well that hit the spot.”
The general public, still watching this garbage, erupts into the same applause that we do while watching this. Considering that Killian was supposedly a beloved TV icon of 30 years, they sure had no problem turning against him on the drop of a dime. As Arnie stands alone in the studio, not doubt writing a mental journal entry, Doogie Howser MD-style, Amber joins him so that they can embrace and share a rather horribly unmotivated kiss before the credits finally roll.
Donkey: Like our previous foray into the filmography of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall, this movie can be rather difficult to assess. On the one hand, it once again features a cavalcade of outstanding dialogue, with a nearly overwhelming number of one-liners that will produce more groans than a teenage virgin with a box of tissue and a fresh Sears catalogue, as well as characters that are less coherent than a political debate between two speed freaks with cleft lips. That being said, like Total Recall, it also happens to be genuinely entertaining, at least enough to classify it as a guilty pleasure which takes it into a bizarre nether region of shitty movies. Therefore, I’m once again forced to give this movie three Samurai Goalies out of five painfully conspicuous passwords.
What We Learned:
Donkey: The hearts and minds of the American public can be swayed to abandon a beloved icon using only basic film editing and suspect, unconfirmed footage. Well that explains Fox News, anyways.
Don’t forget to check back every Sunday for a new fresh review! Next week shittymovienight.com presents: an obscure adventure featuring one of the greatest shitty movie actors of all time in…ALIEN APOCALYPSE.
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