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|“||Well, I may not have been in show business for as long as you have. But I'm a quick learner. And right now, I'm going to give the audience what I think they want.||„|
|~ Ben Richards|
Benjamin "Ben" Richards is the main protagonist of the 1987 action film that is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, The Running Man that was portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Service as a Police Officer
In the year, 2017, he served as a cop in Bakersfield, California. He was part of a totalitarian police force, until he was on a routine mission surveying a food riot in progress. He was told to kill them. He refused, telling his superiors "To hell with you. I am not killing innocent civilians." as the civilians were unarmed. With that, the other officers took control of the helicopter from Officer Richards and carried out the orders themselves, allowing Ben to be scapegoated.
Richards would then spend sometime in prison for a few years in the ruins of a post-Earthquake Los Angeles. He, along with other wrongfully scapegoated inmates would escape the prison with the help of resistance fighters, William Laughlin and Harold Weiss. The leader of the resistance, Mic, disarmed the bomb that was around Ben's neck befofe Ben went to his brother's apartment to start a new life. It turned out that his brother was arrested and reeducated and a woman named Amber Mendez moved in about a month before Ben went to see him. When she arrived home and started working out, she found Ben and tried to escape from him as she recognized him as "The Butcher of Bakersfield," a title that was given to him by the biased propaganda media.
He took her with him when he went to Hawaii so he could escape. However she turned him into the authorities. After she returned home, she saw a report on the news that said on arrival to the airport, Richards shot a security guard and ticket agent, when in fact, she knew he was innocent of those crimes. It made her question if the prior news reports she heard about him where true or lies.
The Running Man contestant
After he was captured, he was brought to Damon Killian, a host of the barbaric gladiatorial game show, "The Running Man." He was forced to either compete in the show or his fellow escapees, Laughlin and Weiss, who was captured, to compete in the show in their place. After he reluctantly agreed, he was processed and then he was brought to the show in front of a booing crowd he was told he was a criminal. He then found that Laughlin and Weiss were gonna compete in the show after all. This angered Ben and told Killian "I'll be back!" Killian only snickered and told him "Only in a rerun." He was then sent to the ruins of Los Angeles where The Running Man's action took place. Richards, Laughlin, and Weiss took out the first Stalker of The Running Man who was sent to kill them named Professor Subzero. Then after, the trio discovered that Amber Mendez, the woman who was responsible for Ben being in the show was made into a contestant herself when she did some digging in the studio's film files and found raw footage of the Bakersfield massacre. Ben and Laughlin would shortly after encounter another runner named Buzzsaw. Buzzsaw kills Laughlin before Richards kills him.
Another Stalker named Dynamo kills Weiss and tries to kill Amber, only Ben subdue him after Dynamo revealed to be a coward, disgracing him in front of a live audience. Killian would offer Ben a lucrative contract to become a stalker himself. But Ben was disgusted by the offer and told him "You cold-blooded bastard! I'll tell you what I think of it: I live to see you eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I'm going to ram it into your stomach and break your god-damn spine!" before he destroyed the camera. Ben and Amber would encounter the final stalker, Fireball. Fireball almost kills Amber, but Ben saves her, killing Fireball in an explosion. Ben and Amber escape to Mic's resistance, but saw on TV that the show put on a simulation of Ben and Amber being killed by the champion stalker, Captain Freedom after the real Captain Freedom refused to do it because they wanted him to use weapons rather than his bare hands in honorable gladiatorial combat.
Ben's Vindication and Revenge
Ben and Amber would lead the Resistance to the ICS Network officers and studios where The Running Man was being showed live. They hacked the network with codes that Weiss obtained before his death and put the raw footage of the Bakersfield Massacre to air to the live audience. The public finally saw the truth. The entire fraud was also exposed with Ben and the Resistance showing up in public. The ICS Tactical Officers, assuming the show had been interrrupted, tried to kill the audience and the resistance to prevent them from talking, but the public saw everything.. After Richards and the Resistance killed many of ICS Tactical Officers, Richards finally got a one on one encounter with Killian again, making good on his vow to return. After Killian made a plea for his life, Richards would kill him infront of a live audience.
After Killian was killed, the audience applauded him and chants his name. Amber would show up in the studios (after she killed Dynamo after he tried to rape her), and they kissed and left the studios, presumingly to start a new life being citizens rather than fugitives, smiling at the fact that Richards was vindicated, Killian was dead, and the Resistance won.