Monday, May 5, 2008

running man: so far fetched?

For those of you who, for some reason, may not remember the movie "The Running Man" I'll do a brief description.  In the vein of most 80's & 90's Schwarzenegger movies, Running Man delivers a brand of action laced with brutal violence that you don't see much nowadays.  In this poverty-ridden society the government tries to distract its citizens from the sources of their troubles with entertainment, particularly with a show called "Running Man," in which convicts are plucked from Federal Prisons and put on the set of this show where they must run through an American Gladiator-style course (in fact, I'm pretty sure the movie was inspired by the creation of the real Gladiator show in the 80's) while avoiding the show's stars who chase them through the maze attempting to kill them.
You're probably thinking- "Brittany, how the hell is this relevant?"  I mean, today's shows and movies, while definitely indulging in gratuitous sex and violence, aren't nearly as bad (surprisingly) as those of the late 80's.  I mean, take another look at Robo-Cop and tell me that scene where he's first killed isn't some of the most disturbing shit you've ever seen.   So, that being said, while today's violence doesn't seem to be as unnecessary, unfortunately it is based more in reality than in fantasy.  Now, I can't speak to whether or not basing violence in a fantastical setting makes a movie's audience more or less connected to it (or if it desensitizes them more) but it definitely seems to me that it creates a culture of acceptance around a lot of the problems that cause the very real violence on which movies like Street Kings are based.
Ok, to get another perspective, let's take movies and the entertainment industry in general out of the equation.  Since probably the time of the US-Vietnam War America has created a culture of voyeurism and scintillation around violence.  Whether it's the local news discussing a story about a woman stabbing a friend while watching Top Model (no lie, that crazy ish actually happened!) or some guy freaking out and punching someone on The Real World, our obsession with violence seems to verge on the pornographic.  And this whole internet culture isn't helping things, either.  One can go onto youtube to find actual videos of people being beat, shot, hurt or really KILLED.

So what do you think?  Have we as a culture gone too far- is there any going back?

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