Battle Royale: Movie Runners

Walking, as we all know, is for girls and old people.

Real men perambulate by having both feet off the floor at the same time: in short, they run. And boy, do they like to get a canter going in movieland.

Obviously, we feel it’s our duty to sort the ‘cool runnings’ from the ‘jog ons'.

And then do it as an epic, Lycra-clad, spike-shoed Battle Royale sort of thing.

On your marks, get set... FIGHT!

Harrison Ford, The Fugitive (1993)

‘Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injury, is four miles an hour,’ barks Tommy, leading the manhunt. Cobblers! Look at Harrison go! He’s doing fifty miles an hour if he’s doing an inch. And in a fetching yellow jumpsuit, to boot. Like a greased banana down a hungry chimp’s gullet. Go on my son!

Speed : Given that tricky woodland terrain, an impressive 6

Power : A grimly determined grind, 9

Manliness : Gah! Fall = FAIL, 4

Streaks past...

Steven Seagal, Pistol Whipped (2008)

Oh dear me - where to start? The bizarre ‘ruler up the sleeve’ arm positioning? The egregiously wobbly gunplay? Or the utterly counterproductive blind pirouetting? Oi, Stevo - rule one of running (a popular method of ‘hurrying up’): face in the direction you’d like to go. Helps enormously.

Speed : Suitably graveyard-respecting, 2

Power : Like a spinning top in its final throes, 3

Manliness : Pfft, we’re HIDING now? 2

Next: Mel Gibson vs Brad Pitt


Mel Gibson, Gallipolli (1981)

There’s something genuinely heartwarming about the (admittedly quite brief) sight of a bloke truly gasping, flailing and snorting his way to the goal in pure everyman desperation. This is what we ‘norms’ look like when we run for a bus, or last orders.

Speed : A proper lick for 100+ degrees in the shade, 8

Power : Those 1916 khakis must weigh three stone, 9

Manliness : Some light whimpering, but a solid 6

Leaves for dead...

Brad Pitt, Across The Tracks (1991)

Proving that you don’t need to be built like a traction engine to get up a good head of steam, Brad’s strong-out-of-the-blocks start is utterly ruined by that ludicrously preppy posture. Balancing an imaginary tea-tray on your head is no way to roll, kiddo.

Speed : Flying without breaking a sweat, 7

Power : Not nearly thunderous enough of hoof, 4

Manliness : Hair-bouncingly puppyish, 2

Next: Tom Cruise vs The Cast Of The Shining


Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible III (2006)

The first two M:I flicks made it fairly apparent that Tom was no slouch when it came to hot-footing it after bad guys/away from large exploding things. But actually running through MID-AIR, as glimpsed in this teaser? Another. Level.

Speed : Close to terminal velocity, 9

Power : Limited by Earth’s wussy gravitational pull, 6

Manliness : Makes the ‘air bicycle’ acceptable again, 8

Easily skinning...

Everyone, The Shining (1980)

Ok, so Jack’s got a gammy leg, but his wheezy “I’m right behind ya!†sounds more like a deluded self-help mantra than a threat to his rapidly escaping child. Ms Duval, meanwhile, attempts to flee The Overlook by walking like a Thunderbird.

Speed : Like next winter will do, 1

Power : Wheeeeere’s Johnny? 3

Manliness : “Yes, it’s perfect for a child.†2


Next: Ewan McGregor vs Corey Feldman


Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting (1996)

Everyone else on this list might have less dubious reasons for ‘doing one’ - and we’re not condoning Renton’s shoplifting by including him - but crikey, the lad can shift. And in Converse All-Star, too: those Glaswegian pavements are as hard as the rest of the city, y’know.

Speed : Heroin actually, but still, 8

Power : We can almost feel the burn from here, 10

Manliness : On the wrong end of the chase, 5

Eating dust...

Corey Feldman, Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004)

(skip to 8:05)

Feldman, playing some sort of scientist dressed as his own father, fails to outrun a ten-inch-tall plastic doll despite the 20-yard head start. Blame the excess corduroy if you will, but there’s still no excuse for his truly pitiful corridor shuffle. Except maybe acute diarrhoea.

Speed : Workplace Health %26 Safety compliant, 3

Power : Flap-flap-flap-flap, 2

Manliness : Frightened of doll, caught by doll, 1

Next: Franka Potente vs Ian Charleson


Franka Potente, Run Lola Run (1998)

Making light work of a highly unsuitable ensemble - naively pairing snug, lime-green slacks with clodhopping army boots - Lola cuts an impressive swathe through urban Berlin. And, after a fashion, time itself. An admirable effort.

Speed : Varies from run to run, so 5

Power : Head up, arms flexed, 8

Manliness : In the most patronisingly complementary sense, 7

Blazes away from...

Ian Charleson, Chariots Of Fire (1981)

A fly-catcher of the first water, our Christian-playing hero’s lower jaw seems to come unhinged at the pistol crack, then gradually widens until he finally crosses the line looking like a man trying to gob-off an invisible whale.

Speed : Ok, yes, he’s nippy, 8

Power : Cruelly afflicted by the dread ‘windmill arms’, 3

Manliness : Apparently not next to Godliness, 3

Next: GRUDGE MATCH! - Cruise vs Seagal



Tom Cruise, pretty much anything

Wow, who’d have thunk it? Deceptively explosive horsepower in a compact and bijou frame, which gives him superb handling on tight bends and is, quite literally, a fanny magnet. Shame about the Thetans in the glove box, but hey.

Speed : Tom Cruise runs like he’s late for Dianetics practice, 10

Power : Tom Cruise runs like he’s powering Freewinds with a treadmill, 9


Makes slug-meat of...

Steven Seagal, pretty much anything

Sweet Jesus, the horror. Like, what exactly is going on here, Stevey boy? You look like your legs are on backwards. You’d have a better chance of catching criminals by running in front of them, then striking when they’re paralysed with mirth.

Speed : Steven Seagal runs like ET in stilettos.

Power : Steven Seagal runs like he’s carrying ALL the shopping.


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