In the year 2017, America is a totalitarian state where the favorite television program is “The Running Man” — a game show in which prisoners must run to freedom to avoid a brutal death. Having been made a scapegoat by the government, an imprisoned Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has the opportunity to make it back to the outside again by being a contestant on the deadly show, although the twisted host, Damon Killian (Richard Dawson), has no intention of letting him escape.
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The Running Man comes to 4K UHD Blu-Ray with a terrific 2160p/Dolby Vision transfer courtesy of Paramount that honors the original source while bringing it a fresh new life. This release only comes with a 4K disc, so direct comparisons to any other source are limited. This film was first released on Blu-Ray in 2010 by Lionsgate and again in 2013 by Olive Films, neither of which received the most glowing endorsements for their quality.
The Dolby Vision provides very natural, deep colors throughout including certain overt lighting choices, the striking hues of the costumes and more. Highlights are brighter and more stable without veering into blooming. Black levels are deep and allow the picture to maintain a stunning amount of depth and detail in darker environments. Skin tones look perfectly balanced and the clarity of the transfer gives you a great amount of facial detail including beads of perspiration.
The sumptuous natural film grain remains intact as it gives a lot of nuanced texture and detail to the transfer. This is complemented by a capable encode that does not show any digital anomalies such as compression artifacts. The transfer remains very crisp throughout with next to nothing in the way of softness or fluctuation. The command over contrast and overall clarity is readily apparent, especially in unique details within the production design. This is the release fans have been waiting to see.
The 4K UHD Blu-Ray presents the movie with a forceful DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track that proves its worth at every turn. While we often want studios to provide a new Dolby Atmos surround track, this track is no weakling and never fails to get the job done. The directionality of the sound is distinct and precise throughout with no errors in the placement. There is pretty consistent activity in the low end which puts your subwoofer to work from the opening moments in the helicopter. The music stands tall with pleasing fidelity throughout. Dialogue comes through crisp and clear without ever being stepped on by competing sounds. The surround channels provide texture to the world with distinct sounds that stretch all around. This track lives up to the majesty of the video portion of the disc, ultimately delivering a memorable time all around.
There are no special features provided on this disc.
The Running Man is not the absolute zenith of quality for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but when you have anchored so many action classics, competition gets a bit tough. This narrative builds on some fertile thematic ground which allows it to both entertain as an action film and deliver some cutting social commentary. The performances are not award-worthy, but they deliver what this story needs. If you love a decently intelligent dystopian tale with some classic Arnie one-liners, this delivers on all fronts. Paramount Home Entertainment has given this one an excellent 4K UHD Blu-Ray upgrade with an A/V presentation that is simply not to be missed. Unfortunately, the disc lacks any special features, so those with the previous Blu-Rays will want to hold on to those for that aspect. If you are a fan of Schwarzenegger, it is hard to imagine you having a bad time here. Recommended
The Running Man is currently available to purchase on 4K UHD Blu-Ray and Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Paramount Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.