The Last Post

18 10 2017

Godzilla 1954 - Present

When I first started blogging in 2009, it was the result of nearly a year of writing little opinion pieces in Word and sharing them around with others via the wonders of printing. These little pieces were called Sam’s Rant, and for most of the early days were inspired by begrudges towards little nit bits that I either did not understand or more commonly did not like about Video Games. Well, anyway, I soon posted these on my blog in November 2009, and then it all went from there. In the early days of the blog, it soon became hard, as I began to run out of ideas, and nearly went months without posting anything. In my first month I got over 200 views, but by the following July I hit a (still standing) record of just 7. Well, soon after that I began doing Movie Reviews, and then things like ‘5 Years and Still Painful’ as well as ‘I Remember The 1990’s’ soon followed. In 2011 I hit major milestones with my first post to reach 100 views (Brutal Legend), peaks in my daily viewership, 1000 views in a month and even a direct link to my blog from the BBC Website (Dinosaurs Return To Television). 2012 was my biggest year, with viewership consistently getting higher and higher as each month passed reaching an all-time high of 4000+ views in a month. Then things from there went down and never recovered.

Why this route down memory lane you ask; well, after months of not posting things, and other bits and bobs as well as things outside of blogging, I have decided to stop posting on this blog. You see; while I was still posting and still enjoying doing so: the viewership’s were getting to me, and despite my efforts of not looking; it still got to me, and while I did not want that to be the be all and end all, eventually things got bigger and bigger as I began to ask questions of where do I go from here? What to do next? All of which culminated earlier this year with the realization that I was no longer really enjoying it! I was posting for the sake of posting, nothing else. Since then I have had struggles outside of blogging in my personal life, and while I still have blogging plans for the future, I think this blog’s time has really been and gone, and the thoughts that maybe I should have finished it either after the 500th post, or maybe this time last year. Right now it feels like a wounded pet that I have let live too long, unwilling to say goodbye.

So; on the eve of the blog’s 8th anniversary; I think is the time to finally put this blog to bed. While I hope to begin again one day in the future, I have already decided that when that time comes; I will start a fresh somewhere else, and possibly keep it more mainstream. So, before I say a goodbye, I just thought I would say some thank you’s; answer some questions not asked, some stats, maybe rifle a few ideas I had for future posts or posts not written, and then say a final cheerio with some music. But first, to help break up the teary goodbye, here is a video of a clip from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, improved with a piece of music from Godzilla: Final Wars

Questions not asked…..answered:

Why the Name NUMB3R5S?

When I first started this blog, it was during a time when the internet was still rather unsocial; and the idea was, was when you started on a forum or made a website you kept your name anonymous, so that’s what I did, however my many nicknames/gamer names that I was quick to choose, were already names, and so I decided to be quick by using a creative name, which was also the name of a TV show I liked (called Numb3rs) and adding an extra 5.

What’s with the GENEPOOL thing at the bottom of each post? When I started (and pretty much right now here and there) GENEPOOL was my Gamer Name, and so to keep in tie with the above answer of Anonymity, I decided to sign the bottom of each post with my Gamer Name.

Some Stats (at time of posting):

Total Number of Posts – 548

Total number of Views – 115634

Most Viewed Post – Top 5 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours

Least Viewed Post – Another Annoying Little Book

My Top 3 Favourite Posts –

Maybe rifle through a few ideas I had for future posts or posts not written:

Best Cartoons of 2000’s – A run through of my favourite cartoons released in the 2000’s.

The Pony That Became A Horse – A retrospective history of the Ford Mustang.

Top 5 PS3 Games – My Top 5 Favourite Games on PS3.

Top 10 Fictional Villains – A run through of some unsavory characters from Films and other media.

Films Considered for Reviewing – Films I have considered reviewing recently: Transformers: Age of Extinction,  Attack On Titan (P1 and P2), Godzilla vs Gigan, Return of Godzilla, Blackfish, Akira, Pom Poko.

Thank You:

Now just want to say thank you to people.

Thank you to Ant who suggested blogging in the first place and was a real encouragement in those early days (and both Kevin’s as well).

Thank you to my blogging and animating friend Matt who has been of great inspiration and encouragement all this time.

Thank you to Hannah, whose blog while now pretty much gone, was a real drive and motivator as to what a blog is and what mine could be and was a driving influence to getting me going with it especially in those hard days one year after starting it.

Thank you to all my family and friends who have suggested, voted for, and just generally read posts on here.

Thank you to everyone around the world who has read my blog.

So, really, a Big Thank You to everyone for everything.

So, with that: just like the final episode of Top Gear, Thank You, and Goodbye (or maybe more like see you around). And to cap it off, here is a piece of music:

GENEPOOL

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Top 5 Most Likely Identities Of Supreme Leader Snoke

15 08 2017

Since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there has been a lot of discussion as to who the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke is. Some of these have taken the form of discussion threads online, articles, or even just ‘friendly’ chit chats between friends and fans of Star Wars.

Now I have my problems with The Force Awakens as I see it nothing more than a blatant remake of A New Hope and is putting me off from seeing any future films (I did like Rogue One though, that is what Force Awakens should have been in my opinion). The debate over the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke though is one I would like to weigh in on though and so here I would like to provide my ideas as to who he could be. Now, I am keeping my ideas to the Star Wars universe, which means sadly I cannot nominate Zordrak from The Dreamstone whom we can all probably agree looks a lot like Snoke.

But enough of Awesome Cartoons, here is my selection of characters who I genuinely think have a good chance of becoming Supreme Leader Snoke:

5. Darth Vader – Come on, has nobody seriously thought that it might just be Darth Vader, or the spirit of Darth Vader in some capacity. It may be a big surprise or a big flop, but you know, why not? I mean this is a series still holding on to its past and not actively progressing, so on a mainstream point of view, it probably is Darth Vader.

4. Prune Face – A character not all that well known in the Star Wars universe, but definitely one to watch out for. In my opinion I think the idea is, is that after his action star credentials were passed up in both Return of the Jedi and the prequels, Orrimaarko (better known as Prune Face) changed his acting style to become like that of a wiser character and so landed the role of Snoke with ease. If you are unaware of his action based credentials, please watch the following video:

See!

3. Poggle The Lesser – After his attempts to build the Death Star himself, and after the need for Battle Droids completely faded, Poggle The Lesser went mad and learned how to use the force and one day desired revenge against all those who ended his Titan of Industry career plans…..Probably.

2. Jar Jar Binks – Now, he is taken as something of a joke in the series and is so far the only reason I have heard as to why the Prequels are soooo bad (but given his time in Phantom Menace was the most he gets, and gets less than 1% worth of an appearance in Revenge of the Sith, this argument does not hold much water). However, could it be the case that he is the real architect of the dark side’s manipulation? He did provide Palpatine with those powers to create the army by bringing the senate together. I think it’s more likely the case that Jar Jar Binks is only playing the fool, and is really the Dark Side Puppet Master we all fear.

1. Lama Su – I think it’s Lama Su out of all possible characters to most likely be the Supreme Leader; he does of course have experience. He was the Prime Minister of Kamino, and he knows how to build an efficient killing force. But most of all, he does have the height (and something in the nose); all he needed to do was stretch his neck that little bit further and instantly becomes Supreme Leader Snoke.

GENEPOOL (Who do you think Supreme Leader Snoke really is?)





Top 5 WWE Wrestlers Who Should Have Appearances In Future Star Wars Films

15 08 2017

I would just like to start off by saying that I have no knowledge right now of anyone from WWE receiving an appearance in any future Star Wars films.

Star Wars is in the middle of both a resurgence and renaissance (in that it is just copying its own previous films with at least one of its two entries to date) at the moment with 2 films already having been released and future installments planned. While this is an exciting time for those who enjoy these films and others who see the entertaining value of them, one of the big questions going round is what will the future hold for the series. Now, I am not an Oracle so I absolutely have no idea; but as it is fun to guess and talk about, why not have some ideas about future castings. Star Power is all the range today, and I thought, given how previous WWE World Heavyweight Champion Batista is now in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, maybe it would be fun to add another 1 or 2 WWE Wrestlers into the Sci-Fi world with appearances in Star Wars. So here are my picks for WWE Wrestlers I believe should have appearances in future Star Wars films:

(I should just make the point that choosing the right wrestlers for this list was hard and that in order to keep it down to just 5; some people unfortunately do not feature in this list, but definite standouts which came to mind include Becky Lynch, Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre, Charlotte Flair, Kane, Bray Wyatt, Jinder Mahal, AJ Styles, John Bradshaw Layfield, Goldust and Braun Strowman).

5. The Undertaker – Now, this one is questionable given his current state with the company (as in; has he retired or not?), but I think the Undertaker would still be an excellent casting for a future Star Wars film. About 10 years ago I had this vision, an idea of the Dark Side of the Force binding itself together and come into a physical being who would then wreak havoc in the universe. My vision of this character took the form of The Undertaker, with his hat and leather coat (and for some reasons an orange lightsaber). The Undertaker whatever role he fills within the universe probably wouldn’t even need a lightsaber, as his presence, notoriety and just the genuine fear he presents whenever he walks into the room will cause people to run in terror; especially if he brings his Entrance theme with him, maybe a combination of his Death Bell Entrance:

And his American Badass theme:

4. The New Day – Ok, this is more three wrestlers than 1 whole wrestler, but I think with this group’s hi-jinks and positive attitude to everything; these guys will be a great asset to the Star Wars saga. I do not see a future of Jedi Knights here, but maybe a group of arms dealers, or maybe with their soul sounding entrance music, maybe a group of intergalactic religious ministers. Whatever it may be, be it goodies or baddies; they will remain entertaining and become great screen presences.

3. Paige – While the future for Paige in WWE right now is uncertain, she does remain my favourite WWE Women’s Wrestler. My idea though for Paige in Star Wars comes in the form of being like Emma Frost in X-Men. I think with Paige’s all black clothing, she would make an excellent female Dark Side warrior. How many female antagonists have there been in Star Wars (not a lot I can think of). I thought Paige could be like the female Darth Vader, the ultimate villain. Dark yet cool, and come with a name like Countess to address her by. I think Paige would be an awesome person to add into Star Wars (maybe make her into a future villain for Rey (and by that I don’t mean necessarily Rey Mysterio) to take on?).

2. Finn Balor – Imagine this for a scene in The Last Jedi (due for release in 2017): Snoke/Smoke/Whatever is in his chambers and is looming over the one with the mask, what’s he called……….Kylo Ren. So, these two people are in one’s chambers, they maybe chatting about one needing to go to a planet made of ice with some walking tanks, or travel to a city in the clouds, or building a fourth Death Star/Second Star Killer Base thing, when all of a sudden, the room goes entirely dark, and then red lights start flashing to a heartbeat sound. Some strange but unwelcoming sounds enter the room, and by the door, a strange figure is crawling into the doorway. Then it rises up and sticks its arms into the air as its blood curdling theme music takes hold, and before their eyes; Smokey and Kyle (which is a great name for a children’s cartoon series) see a Man, a man covered in body paint, which looks like a giant mouth. They have just met The Demon King (I don’t entirely agree with that name); Finn Balor. Now who wouldn’t want to see that (What happens after that is entirely one’s guess, but I imagine Stoke and Carly run in fear from the might of Finn Balor!)?

1. Shinsuke Nakamura – He is the King of Strong Style, but give him a light saber and I am pretty sure he will become the King of the Lightsaber. Shinsuke Nakamura’s style of wrestling, combined with his incredible performance abilities are why I think this wrestler, more than any should have a future role in the Star Wars saga. Combine his amazing talent, with his incredible fighting style, his hypnotizing microphone work and of course his mesmerizing yet beautiful entrance walk as well as music, and here we have someone who probably doesn’t need the force, but who the force needs!

GENEPOOL (Which WWE Wrestlers do you think should have a part in future Star Wars films?).





Get Off My Face! – Alien: Covenant

10 08 2017

Out in deep space, the ship Covenant is on its way to a distant planet on a colonization mission. After a tragic accident takes place, the crew of the ship discover a planet much closer by which appears to be an untapped paradise with more potential than the planet they are heading for. Upon landing on the planet’s surface however, they realize something odd about this new world, and that more importantly, they’re not alone!

Confession: I have not seen Alien. I have seen bits of it, from John Hurt looking at Eggs, to something strapped to his face and the attempts to remove it (plus the deleted scene where one crew member is being turned into an egg; which sort of lowers the uncivilized level of everything else in the world of the Xenomorph). I have though seen other films in the Alien franchise; I have seen Aliens (as close to watching the whole thing without doing it in one sitting), tiny bits of Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection (in the same capacity as Aliens), Alien vs Predator, Alien vs Predator: Requiem (again much like Aliens) and Prometheus. In fact, Alien: Covenant is the first time I have seen an Alien film on the big screen that features the word Alien in the title. But this does not explain much as to why I have not seen the first film.

It’s not like I have not had a chance too or lack of it being on either. It’s the case that the bits I have seen are the result of it being on TV. There was also the opportunity to watch it at The Dukes in Lancaster too, but I turned it down. So why have I not seen it: because I am not really a fan of gross levels of horror. I am actually rather squeamish, this is particularly true anytime and every time I have walked into a hospital or needed an injection. When it comes to these films, I know what I need to be getting myself into with its Chestbursters and its Facehuggers, but part of me is not really looking forward to those bits. But now you must be thinking; OK, then why watch any of the films in the first place then? Simple answer, I can’t help myself: thing is, I am actually, although rather grossed out by it, very interested in the Alien creature. I am a big fan of Monster Movies as anyone who knows me will testify with an especial passion for Godzilla films. While my Monster movie love though is mainly tied to giant monsters, I am still very interested in the Alien. This mainly comes in the form of its biology and how it comes to life. In the week leading up to the release of Covenant, I spent quite a bit of my time in a philosophical head space as I thought about the creature and came to the conclusion that the Alien creature is actually a rather tragic creation; but that is a story for another time.

Released in 2017 by 20th Century Fox and Directed by Ridley Scott; Covenant is the latest film in the mythical series of Horror/Action films that began in 1979 with the release of Alien. Covenant looks backwards in time, as it looks to continue to tell the tale of the events leading up to the original film, as well as look into how the species was possibly created. The film acts as a direct sequel to Prometheus, but also looks to set up its own future and possibly lead into something bigger.

First thing I would say about this film is something rather obvious from the get go. While the series is technically more of a horror series of films, Covenant lends itself more to that of an action film. It does have its shocking moments that will make you launch a bit, but there is not really a lot in terms of big out of the dark surprises. It’s more like the film makers decided to go from the launch pad that as we know what the Alien is, there is less need to surprise people with what they already know. The film does contain its fair share of visually disgusting moments that we have come to expect from the series such as its facehuggers and chestbursters, but at the same time also weaves in some new little bits to keep some bits of the series fresh. This aside though, it’s content and pacing really does lend itself more to a mini action movie than a horror movie. It comes with chase scenes, tense moments, and events involving large vehicular instruments as well as gun totting characters with a trigger happy attitude when confronted with something that wants to kill them.

The film’s story is nicely brought together as it looks to less provide a ride for the ages and to introduce the series and its elements to a new group of fans with help from those of the past (sort of on a level similar to the release of Jurassic World). On that note though, you do begin to wonder how this film is helping its own series continuity, and how far back the film makers can go in both setting and technology without the events of these films unconvincingly surpass the films that they are meant to be leading up to. The story in itself does have some very interesting use of characters, although those that do stand out early on do feel rather wasted and you are left with one character whose introduction early on shows that he is just going to be un-sympathetic and rotten and thus do not care the slightest what happens to him, in some manner of form it’s actually rather pleasing. Those that remain do their best on their own as much as they can to continue to provide (though it’s hard to mention whom exactly as I don’t want to ruin who gets a feasting). Characters of note include Faris (Amy Seimetz), Karine (Carmen Ejogo), Rosenthal (Tess Haubrich), and Upworth (Callie Hernandez), however my particular mention goes out to the three main stars of this film in my opinion, those being Daniels (Katherine Waterston), Tennessee (Danny McBride) and the combination of David and Walter (Michael Fassbender).

The switcheroo between David and Walter is rather fun to watch as the two different forms of the same looking AI go head to head. On the one hand you have the now rather psychotic David and the more natural butler like machine of Walter. Walter is already a far more pleasing performance than David, but David really does carry that dark sinister sense, where as in Prometheus he is very much just a hindrance, now though he is fully on Badness. Daniels meanwhile is the sympathetic and strong second leader of the team, whose sole job is to make sure the mission is completed on time. Given a tragedy at the start of the film she feels broken, but then comes out strong and hopeful. While her scenes are actually rather enjoyable and strong, she does suffer from not being on-screen more often. She is on more often than other characters, but as the film reaches its central point she is sort of side-lined for a lecture of human philosophy between David and Walter. She comes back on strong and ends nicely that way too, but it’s still something of a miss. For me though the real attraction is Tennessee. This guy is just fantastic. Loyal and respectful, but always working hard to get things done. He shows real levels of passion in the middle stages of the film, and becomes a hard nut in the film’s ending. He is the character to root for the most as you really get attached to how nice but also how practical this character is, and from the beginning of the third act becomes the film’s lead, at least from an audience perspective.

The Xenomorphs meanwhile, although still pretty well done and cool, does suffer from a case of Missing Alien Syndrome. When Godzilla was released in 2014; there was a lot of press which highlighted that the film appeared to have very little of the title monster. Now while I did not necessarily agree with that, I would say however that such comments should definitely be directed this way. For a film that even has Alien in the title, there does appear to be a definitive lack of the Alien creatures. Now, while you could argue that in the same sense that this film is a potential new launch platform for the Alien series and it is of course important to introduce them correctly, there does appear to be large amounts of time between Alien’s being in the scene, and returning to the film. It feels like whole passages of time are passing by as we wait yet again for one to appear. It could be the case that the horror sense of what these films are meant to be is hiding their appearances, but seeing as on occasion, the scene breaks to a shot of the Alien approaching, then why is it taking so long for them to arrive? When they are actively in the scene, they do become the central focus yes; but when not in it, you begin to wonder why their name is even in the film title (maybe it should be called Human: Covenant instead)? Although: there is one big thing however that does sort of get in the way.

The film really likes to talk on the subject of life in a philosophical matter. Talking about life and death and the importance of life given to a species and whether or not they live to that potential. It is something to think on and the film really works hard to slot it in there, to get us thinking and does become the basis of some moments and decisions that characters get involved with. But this is a horror/action movie, not a scientific lecture. It’s good to see certain parts of this film and its series, important points in the creation aspect get covered, but if it’s slowing the films pace down is it worth it? This part, slotted in there really is the bug that is slicing its way through the film. You will have a moment where something is happening and going on, only to then cut to a classroom somewhere to receive a creation and zoology based lecture on creation and the meaning of life. It’s interesting yes, but is this really the time. I mean, here we are, stuck inside a building, fending ourselves off from something that wants to mercilessly shred us to bits, and you want to deliver a scientific lecture David?

The film of course does come packed with a host of visual and special effects but which frankly does not heavily rely on them. The SFX in this film are more on hand to cover and create things which cannot be done with what is available, doing them to a great level of detail, but also only producing what is needed for the film to work. The Alien effects still look pretty gross however, but in a sense are pretty more bearable in comparison to previous films in the series, once again allowing it to lean much closer to action films, not horror films. The scenes are ones that will horrify you still, however they have been done in a format that looks less like a heart transplant given by an unqualified butcher, and more like something is just spilling out of a skin coloured sofa. The shots of space craft and flying ships are pretty well done and cool too, with the Covenant ship looking a bit like the Pegasus front in Battlestar Galactica. These scenes sometimes do feel like a post off cut of Gravity, but these do not distract from the scenes in hand, and don’t want make you feel dizzy, so you can save those feelings for later. There is also a soundtrack but once again feels like it has fallen into that trap of not actually being needed for the most part. Like the SFX, it’s there when it’s needed, but several sections of this film don’t even have much in the way of music, your unlikely to spot it, other than the constant uses of the theme from Prometheus.

Despite some of its issues here and there, Covenant does not really have much in the way of issues that will make you leap out of your chair and want to tear the screen down in anger; except maybe for the film’s ending. Although it is a rather clichéd film practice which leads up to it, the end of the film creates an unbelievable shock that will leave you reeling. It make you think aloud, begging for there to be more, as it just does not seem right. It leaves you on a sinister twist that I think is very similar to the ending of Gone Girl. It is an unjustified twist that makes it feel like there is more to come, but you desire it now, because it just feels so wrong to end like that.

Altogether, Covenant is a very enjoyable film: it contains its core Alien values as well as a few shocks, but does lack surprises, but in the end does provide a rather sinister twist in a similar vein perhaps to an episode of The Outer Limits. It does have some character development flaws as early characters with promise are killed off, but does allow some good ones to live on, if only for a short time. The special effects are nicely made and blend into the film rather un-noticeably, as does the soundtrack. Alien: Covenant really is more of an action film than a horror film: yes, it will probably gross out some audiences and is definitely not one for everyone (especially those under a certain age), but there is a minimalist approach in its delivery however to provide an allowance for some to try it, without needing an instant throw-up break every now and then. On the whole though you are really getting your money’s worth and more with this one as it really does give the Alien series a bright looking future as well as provide thrills and Chestburster spills for this outing at least.

GENEPOOL (Does anyone else think this film’s plot contradicts that of AVP’s?).





It’s Showtime – The Running Man

29 03 2017

Have you ever considered appearing in a Game Show? Like many kids of the 1990’s, I used to dream of appearing in shows like Gladiators, The Crystal Maze, Virtually Impossible, and the biggest one of them all; Fun House. As time went on it became obvious that me appearing in any kind of Gameshow was probably not going to happen, but I kept some tiny day dreams for shows like Cross-Fire, Raven, Bamzooki, Jungle Run and of course Robot Wars (which given its return to TV has got me thinking about it once more). While I may not have been a contestant, many people have as is the point of game shows, many of them striving to achieve the grand prize of money, a holiday or maybe a boat. Win or lose though, many of them should be thankful that they were not competing for the right to stay alive.

Released in 1987 by TriStar Pictures and directed by Paul Michael Glaser; The Running Man is a Dystopian Action Thriller based on the book of the same name written by Stephen King (under the pseudonym Richard Bachman) where a wrongly convicted man is forced to compete in a gladiatorial style TV game show known as The Running Man. The film is set in America between 2017 and 2019, where after a worldwide economic collapse; the country has become a police state and the government soothes the population with the airing of game shows where convicted criminals have to fight for the right to stay alive with a chance of being pardoned by the state.

Former cop Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is wrongly convicted for the mass shooting of civilians at a food riot after he refuses to follow an order to kill the civilians in the first place, and is now dubbed the Butcher of Bakersfield. He along with a few other inmates including William Laughlin (Yaphet Kotto) and Harold Weiss (Marvin J. McIntyre) escape from a labour camp, with Ben going to his brother’s apartment to hide out only to discover that it is now occupied by Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso); a composer for ICS who are the broadcaster of The Running Man. Taking Amber as a hostage, Ben intends to leave the country for Hawaii, but while at the Airport, Amber informs the authorities and Richards is captured. Taken to ICS, Richards meets the host and producer of The Running Man; Damon Killian (Richard Dawson) who tries to persuade Ben into competing in the show. When he refuses, Killian threatens to enter Laughlin and Weiss instead; upon learning this Richards agrees to take part.

The next day the show begins with people all over America and from different backgrounds tuning in to watch. Backstage, Amber; who is working on the show that night discovers some evidence that some of the news made about Richards maybe untrue and goes in search to find out more. As the show begins and Richards is introduced, Killian reveals that he has entered Weiss and Laughlin into the show anyway. Richards threatens to return for Killian, before he and his other inmate pals are sent on their way through large tunnels on strange rocket powered sledges. The Idea of the Running Man is that the contestants are forced to run through a large area of urban wasteland while being chased by an elite team of Killer Stalkers; if they survive, they are pardoned for their crimes. The Audience though love all this brutality and cannot wait for the first stalker to be introduced; that stalker being a very large hockey player dressed character called Sub Zero (Professor Toru Tanaka). The three runners are penned into Sub Zero’s own specially designed area and are toyed with endlessly until Richards uses a barbed wire fence to strangle him, killing him in the process, the first time that has happened in the history of the show. With the audience in shock, the three runners use this advantage to get away. While in the game zone, Laughlin and Weiss use this opportunity to find the network’s uplink for the benefit of the resistance. Amber meanwhile has been caught, and is forced to enter the Running Man also; she arrives just before two more stalkers enter the game zone in the form of chainsaw wielding Buzzsaw (Gus Rethwisch) and arc electricity user Dynamo (Erland Van Lidth). Buzzsaw fatally wounds Laughlin, while Weiss is shocked to death by Dynamo. Richards kills Buzzsaw with his own chainsaw, but spares the life of Dynamo after his electric suit stops working. Richards agrees to carry out Laughlin’s last request of getting the uplink node information to the resistance within the game zone. Off camera; Killian sends a message to Ben offering him a job as a stalker, but he refuses, and Killian sends out the next stalker; the flamethrower wielding Fireball (Jim Brown). In the studio and outside however, the audience starts cheering for Richards given his unstoppable killing streak. While being chased around by Fireball; Amber discovers the decaying bodies of the supposed winners of the last series of the show, discovering that their victory was faked. Richards then kills Fireball by blowing him up.

Running out of options (and stalkers), Killian asks the help of retired and champion stalker Captain Freedom (Jesse Ventura). Freedom however refuses as he does not like the way the show has become compared to what it was like when he used to do it. Using body doubles, Killian fakes the death of both Richards and Amber by the hands of Captain Freedom. Ben and Amber meanwhile are still in the game zone and have been found by the resistance and their leader Mic (Mick Fleetwood) and learn of their faked deaths. Using the transmitter info acquired by Weiss earlier, the resistance launches a two-pronged attack on ICS. First they show footage of what really happened at the Bakersfield riot and present details that Killian has been lying to the audience for a very long time. Then resistance fighters led by Ben and Amber break into the studio fighting the guards. Amber succeeds in killing Dynamo while Ben confronts Killian. Killian’s bodyguard Sven (Sven-Ole Thorsen) shows up, but decides not to fight Richards as he has had enough of his boss and walks off. Killian tries to convince Richards that he was only doing what the audience were asking for; saying that they love reality TV and televised violence. Richards decides to give the audience what he thinks they really want and sends Killian off in one of the rocket powered sledges down the same tunnel that Richards went down. Killian crashes into a sign on the way out bearing his image and dies, while Richards and Amber leave the studio sharing a kiss on their way out.

One thing that stands out about The Running Man is that while it may not be the first among discussed films of the same genre, or even not as frequently mentioned as other Arnold Schwarzenegger films of note; it is still a very entertaining and enjoyable film. While maybe not Schwarzenegger’s best film or performance, this does not distract from how enjoyable the experience this film delivers. The Running Man is one of those films that is guaranteed to entertain an audience whether it be a seasoned viewer, or even those who are watching it for the first time. Saying that though is pretty simple, as explaining why is even harder. While I could immediately jump on saying that the film has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi about it, I think that could be considered cheating. From an action point of view, The Running Man delivers plenty of it. It does what any quality action film does, which is always having something going on, and never too slow. It has lots of running around, plenty of fights, death, explosions while also allowing the use of drama to give those scenes purpose. It’s swift and uneasy, but does not lose sight from its main plot or setting. It’s very basic levels of action uses its scene and scenario to ramp it up and create more meaning, providing the audience with a continued reason to watch. The film’s setting, while not being fully represented, still presents an idea of what it is like to live in a dystopian America, really representing the lives of rich and poor, but also presenting an idea of how a police state could soothe tensions within the populace to keep it under a better form of control than with strong levels of violence. One thing though that probably helps a lot in its film making is how that while you are watching a film; you are also an audience member of this TV Gameshow. The Running Man is presented like many classic American game shows with the charismatic host and big budget effects, to produce the best show they can. In the case of The Running Man the show has its charismatic and popular host; it has music, dancers, merchandise as well as a reality TV effect to it which always grabs an audience. Another thing in the shows profile is how it incorporates what Pro Wrestling was like around the time of the film’s release with a cavalcade of wrestling gimmicks. While said gimmicks are pretty much non-existent to a point these days, back then it was all the range, and with the show’s Stalkers; while they are blood thirsty killers, they are taking on personas with a detailed and strong gimmick. This combination of reality TV and Pro Wrestling along with everything else makes The Running Man Gameshow the kind of show people could actually get into to, even nowadays as it’s a perfect formula conjured up from some of television’s most popular programming. While you are indeed watching a film, you are still watching a Gameshow as presented in the fictional scenario. With the films level of action, small but basic plot, and unique presentation style; creates a very entertaining and enjoyable film. That does not mean though that everything is plain sailing, or perfect.

The Running Man is actually a very small film; not necessarily in length, more in the form of detail. There is a lot going on in the background and a very strong setting is implied, but not delved into. The film says that America is a dystopian police state, but the only evidence of that is a strong police force that could be considered more as security rather than peace keepers. There are a lot of city scenes, some showing a more privileged sector, and that of a down trodden and poor area too, but there are only two scene shots of this, one on a small street area, and the other on the outskirts with the city in the background, but it does not suggest police state, just city and slums; like many a large city. We are told there is a resistance movement but because we have no grounding as to how bad this police state is, there is no real building of reasoning as to why a basic resistance movement is required or needed. That’s the major problem with this film’s setting; that while we are told this stuff, there is no visual evidence to back it up with, other than some scenes with police forces casually walking around. The only thing we have is this TV Show, and that too causes a major plot problem in that supposedly bringing down the TV Station is all that matters. The resistance works hard to bring down a game show and TV channel; but if you are living in a police state where the political elites have control, why would bringing down a TV channel solve the problem? It’s a big foot hole in the plot, because the more you watch it, the more you want to tell everyone that it really doesn’t matter, it does not really solve much, if anything; it’s just going to get worse from here on out. So the ending is a bit unhooked. It’s a real shame really, because the city from a visual perspective looks really good.

On the perspective that the producers of the film could not see into the future, the film’s game show does not lend itself to the current modern-day culture that we live in. One thing that stands out with the film’s selection of stalkers is how they are designed not necessarily around practicality, but more around gimmicks and personas of pro wrestling at the time of the film’s release. In that respect when looked at now it could suggest that the film may not have aged well, but this is only in one short way. Yes the Stalkers do look a bit ridiculous now, but back then would have looked pretty impressive, and in honesty, they are not all that bad. This however brings me quite neatly into another of the films major issues, which is that the cast on the whole is a bit shoddy. The stalker gimmicks are nicely made and it’s easy to see where the ideas came from and what the film’s producers were hoping to achieve, but there aren’t many standouts. Dynamo for instance comes packed with a costume which even back then would have probably looked ridiculous with the glowing hair and light up costume, it looks dire. Buzzsaw does not really do much other than show off his teeth, and Sub Zero is rather wasted given that Professor Toru Tanaka is actually a pretty cool big guy actor when given an actual chance to show off. In reality it makes Tanaka’s performance in an episode of the A-Team far more career prestigious than in a big action film starring Schwarzenegger. In the end it does come down to Captain Freedom and Fireball, which in itself is rather sad. For the most part, both characters; while given major credited parts find themselves on the side-lines until necessary. Fireball’s introduction is rather late on, but has a much stronger stalker part than the others. His entrance and intro is one of the film’s best looking and most enjoyable scenes, plus he helps shed some light on the malpractices of the show. Jesse Ventura as Captain Freedom has a similar part as he is played as mainly the retired veteran of the sport who has great memories and respect for what he used to do and how he did it. His passion for the sport shows off well as he does not like the new wave gimmicks and probably would want to take on Richards if it was left to him and not Killian. Much like Fireball, he is a late intro and is only really referenced up to this point, but his veterancy and style portrays a really interesting character that creates an on-screen identity before he even becomes relevant. Both Brown and Ventura give good performances but it’s only worth between 10 and 15 minutes of the entire film; they both deserved well more.

The rest of the cast is pretty much near hit and misses with very few of the headliners actually standing out. I don’t really get much of a feeling for Mick Fleetwood’s character, nor Weiss, and while Amber’s character does improve towards the end of the film, it just feels rather late. There is some interesting cast minors such as Killian’s assistant Brenda (Karen Leigh Hopkins), The Running Man’s director Tony (Kurt Fuller) and of course Sven who sadly could have had more of a part. From there though we do get some cool characters; Laughlin for instance has great on set chemistry between himself and Richards. If it was not the case of these two needing to work together, he could be a really good nemesis for Schwarzenegger, but in this case what we have is a strong ally for Richards. While he does meet a gruesome end at the end thanks to Buzzsaw, he does produce one of the film’s most powerful and poignant moments backed up with that killer soundtrack. It is an interesting but good casting as it’s one that could have worked either way, be it friend or foe. Richard Dawson is an inspired casting for the part of the cold and ruthless game show host. Given his background and history of Gameshow hosting, it comes more naturally to him, as he looks and feels like a game show host, no matter what the context. He is able to draw popularity to himself through a natural form of charisma, but on top of that he is also able to play a character, one who enjoys a level of ruthlessness that comes with the power and joy of presentation and production control, one that also makes himself believe that whatever he is doing is not necessarily selfish, but right. It is an incredible part and one played by a naturally talented persona that produces a real sense of reality to a very fictional product. Arnold Schwarzenegger for me is someone whose career I have known about but have seen him in very few roles. I have seen most of the Terminator’s, Batman and Robin and Kindergarten Cop, and it’s hard not to think of the large brutish character we have come to expect from said roles. He is a big muscle guy, but it’s hard to see him in other light especially with him playing very archetypal roles. This however does allow me to see another side to him. Yes, he is the muscle-bound hero, but there is more to him here. There is compassion to his friends, love (in the end) for him and Amber but also a sense of belief between right and wrong given his introduction and background. While the film makes use of his well-known line from The Terminator (just 3 years earlier), there are more lines to come, including a very daft form of spoken humour when it comes to the stalker deaths. While he does have a very physical role to play, he shows and does more than that, and in the process allows audiences who have only seen one real side of him to see more of what is quite a cool and diverse actor when provided with a chance.

The Running man does have some interesting and nice effects to it, all be it though come mostly down to some nicely designed and created set pieces such as the tunnels and the main stage of the game show itself. The jumpsuits (I had to at some point didn’t I) are not too putting off; yes they look weird, sort of like how Arnie would look if he was asked to play Wolverine in the iconic spandex (I really don’t think bright banana yellow is his colour), but altogether look ok in different colours. It’s not the best effects of the film but more than most is definitely not the worst. But it’s not really the films effects where I want to look at; more the film’s incredible soundtrack. The Running Man’s soundtrack (composed by Harold Faltermeyer) on the whole sounds very futuristic, but also very low; not sad but grimmer, helping to construct the idea of a dystopian future. It has a lot in common I think to Escape From New York with powerful and hard-hitting keyboards with a sense of fast and light rock. There are four pieces though I would like to make particular mention of; the start of the show, Laughlin’s death, the broadcast attack and the end credits. Mick’s Broadcast attack features this very light siren like sound to begin with which appears rather irrelevant, but quickly builds to include other sounds. It is a pretty light track until the fast repeating drums come in. Before this, they feature the Running Man’s general theme, something which can be heard throughout the film; but once those drums come in, a different piece comes to the stage. It actually breaks the tension and grim sounds of the previous pieces of music and allows a lighter sense of hope as an attack comes its way. It’s in no way optimistic or celebrating, but it gives a lighter more hopeful energy which suggests change in the film’s plot. It’s still dark, low and tense and continues to produce, but it’s a different vision of what once was and is now to come.

A good film plot, as many people will tell you is about change; change from one thing into something else. The Running Man is a film which features a small but dramatic change, the change of a country from one that is cut in half by class, to one united by a common goal, the same could be said for the change in Richards, as he goes from a criminal, to that of a free man. While the broadcast theme suggests change and hope, the end credits (Restless Heart by John Parr), actually present one, as it’s a theme that is much lighter. Gone are the low-toned sounds of a despotic regime raining down on its citizens, in comes the sound of willful change and hope as we see a nation now with hope for a change in attitude, even if it is very much only suggested. It’s a nice light theme for the film to end on in general and has a nice beginning to it, which really helps provide that breath of fresh as it all comes to an end, all the excitement and adrenaline is now over, so remember to breathe.

The ICS Theme for the game show itself is actually pretty light and does not feel as hard-hitting as a game show’s introduction should be. It does not feel catchy or memorable, just light; but mix it in with the dancers, and a different perspective is revealed, that of less a game show, more of an event, and one that requires and deserves a level of build up to get the audience going before the main event begins. It’s a similar idea I think to when in The Hunger Games there is that 1 minute countdown to the bloodbath, the calm before the Storm, but held in a slightly more glorious way as this time the whole nation is backing it, and because it’s the kind of show which gives audience participation, there has to be that level of joy for them too as the show begins. One track in The Running Man that is not joyous is that of when Laughlin dies. The Running Man’s general musical theme is this sort of keyboard based riff which can be heard in several parts of the film, more of an atmospheric track than anything else, but when Laughlin dies it is played a lot heavier. It’s the loss of a good strong friend and his message for Richards, one which Richards agrees too, but also from belief that Richards should have died not Laughlin. It is a pretty funky track and sound, but especially more so at this point when the notes are pretty much being slammed by the soloist. It is a game of life and death, but becomes more real at this point, and the soundtrack goes out of its way to use this point as the most poignant reminder of this, creating the film’s and film’s soundtrack’s best and most memorable moment.

The Running Man critically is a very hard one to judge. Yes it has its issues ranging from a mainly makeshift cast, to a setting and theme which is not really delved into enough to really provide scope. On the other hand though it delivers an incredible soundtrack, some wonderfully designed set pieces, some interesting moments, but on the whole a lot of very enjoyable moments of action. As a dystopian thriller, it definitely does not hold a lot of ground and there are far better ones out there than this. But as a dystopian action film; this is one of the best. While I still prefer the Hunger Games and Battle Royale; I would happily put this up a good level. It has something that every action film fan would enjoy while also using a unique perspective to create something that is truly unique in cinema. Trust me on this when I say that this is a truly enjoyable film; I mean it, give it a go.

GENEPOOL (The poster is a bit off-putting).








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