Ben Richards is a former soldier, wrongly accused of slaughtering 1500 innocent people at a food riot. After escaping from prison with his friends, Laughlin and Weiss, he comes back to his apartment for some clothes, but finds a woman named Amber living there. He takes her hostage, but she turns him in at the airport. After being recaptured, Richards is given a choice: He may return to prison, or compete on "the most popular show in the whole, wide world": The Running Man, a show where criminals must escape from several "Stalkers" to earn pardons. Given that choice, Richards chooses the game show. Upon arriving, he finds that Laughlin and Weiss have also been captured and chosen to compete. As the prisoners are launched into the game zone (not before Richards promises the show's host, Killian, "he'll be back"), the Stalkers enter: Subzero, dressed as a hockey goalie with a sword shaped like a hockey stick, Buzzsaw, a motorbike rider with his namesake as a weapon, Dynamo, an opera singer with an electric shock blaster and electric car, and Fireball, with his flamethrower and jet pack ready to destroy. As the game escalates dangerously, Richards' goal becomes not only to prove his innocence, but to survive.