Julius and Vincent Benedict are the results of an experiment that would allow for the perfect child. Julius was planned and grows to athletic proportions. Vincent is an accident and is somewhat smaller in stature. Vincent is placed in an orphanage while Julius is taken to a south seas island and raised by philosophers. Vincent becomes the ultimate low life and is about to be killed by loan sharks.
By 2017, the global economy has collapsed and American society has become a totalitarian police state, censoring all cultural activity. The government pacifies the populace by broadcasting a number of game shows in which convicted criminals fight for their lives, including the gladiator-style The Running Man, hosted by the ruthless Damon Killian, where “runners” attempt to evade “stalkers” and certain death for a chance to be pardoned and set free.