I Liked The Hunger Games Better When It Was Called The Running Man

The Hunger Games is a best-selling franchise of books and movies, which has taken the world by storm in recent years. After watching the first movie, I thought to myself, “You know, I liked The Hunger Games better when it was called The Running Man.”

I’m referring to the 1987 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is the exact same fucking thing. It feels like whoever made The Hunger Games was just doing a shitty fan-fiction set in the same universe as The Running Man.

Let’s do a head to head comparison:

Round One – Premise

The Running Man takes places in a dystopian society under marshal law, in which the public is pacified through the use of a televised game show where criminals are murdered for sport.

The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian society under marshal law, in which the public is pacified through the use of a televised game show where children kill each other for sport.

OK, so, they’re basically identical. But what’s more fun, watching criminals die gruesome deaths or children? Obviously, it’s children.

Winner: The Hunger Games

Round Two – Political Underpinnings

The Running Man: Schwarzenegger and his compatriots are trying to lead a revolution to overthrow the oppressive government. Through his success on the game show, he is able to rally the support of the masses to freedom.

The Hunger Games: People are starving and hate the government. Through her success on the game show, Jennifer Lawrence is able to rally the support of the masses. She probably leads them to freedom in future movies, but does not do shit for the cause in the first film.

Once again, they’re similar. But The Running Man is able to lead the glorious revolution in the course of a single film, while The Hunger Games takes four fucking movies to make this happen.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Three – Violence

The Running Man has its contestants hunted by deadly “Stalkers.” Schwarzenegger, being Schwarzenegger, kills these Stalkers in all sort of interesting and violent ways. Death by flames, death by impalement, death by barbed wire garrote, death by rocket-sled, and death by chainsaw to the nuts. It’s all pretty extravagant.

The Hunger Games doesn’t have Stalkers, but rather the contestants kill each other. Deaths are carried out less flamboyantly with arrows, knives, hornets, and poisonous berries (Is that the best they could do?).

Winner: The Running Man

Round Four – Main Character

The Running Man features Schwarzenegger playing himself.

The Hunger Games features Lawrence as a pouty, self-serious girl with a chubby face.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Five – Villain

The Running Man has a classic villain. He’s played to perfection by Richard Dawson, the original host of Family Feud. The dude has charisma up the wazoo, and the fact he used to be an actual game show host makes it all the more believable. He’s smarmy and twisted, and a perfect foil for the brawny Schwarzenegger.

The Hunger Games has Donald Sutherland, who is given nothing to do except glower and not crap in his Depends.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Six – Humor

The Running Man: Schwarzenegger delivers one-liners each time he dispatches a bad guy. Schwarzenegger loves to ham it up, and all of his quips have something to do with the way he kills each villain. For example, just before he blows someone up, he says, “How ’bout a light?” Brilliant!

The Hunger Games: It’s incredibly serious. It’s completely devoid of joy. It has no sense of irony. It doesn’t even acknowledge how ridiculous its own premise is.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at? At least The Running Man is having a great time. The Hunger Games is so serious it bogs itself down under its own weight.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Seven – Shakey-Cam

The Running Man: No.

The Hunger Games: Yes.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Eight – Fashion

The Running Man was filmed in the 1980s and takes place in 2019, just a few short years away. The characters more or less dress the same as we do now, correctly predicting the future of fashion.

The Hunger Games takes place in some distant, unknown future. Here, everyone looks like a dipshit with blue hair, stupid curly sideburns, and circus outfits.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Nine – Accuracy of the Title

The Running Man: Schwarzenegger is a man who runs a lot. Spot-on accuracy.

The Hunger Games: Nobody looks very hungry to me, least of all Jennifer Lawrence.

Winner: The Running Man

Round Ten – A Grandmother Who Say “Motherfucker”

The Running Man: Yes.

The Hunger Games: No.

Winner: The Running Man

Final Score:

The Running Man: 9

The Hunger Games: 1

Winner: The Running Man

As you can see, The Hunger Games is the same exact fucking movie as The Running Man, but a thousand times worse. It stars stupid kids, is totally boring, and doesn’t have the excess of the 1980s. What is better than watching Schwarzenegger kills bad guys and spout one-liners? Nothing.

The Hunger Games makes a lot of mistakes. First, the whole Peeta painting himself to look like a rock was absolutely retarded. That’s your special skill? Really? Ooo, I’m good at painting, watch out! At least Schwarzenegger’s special skill is killing people. Second, the CGI is atrocious. The scene with Lawrence and Peeta (what the fuck kind of name is that, anyway?) on fire looks like a cutscene from a PS2 game. Also, they have to fight hilariously bad CGI dogs. Third, all of the characters are fashionable and clean, despite living in the woods for weeks while they fight each other. Fourth, there are way too many directorial gimmicks: weirdo hallucination scenes, cheesy dialogue, loud explosions causing tinnitus, and shakey-cam.

Finally, the movie just draaaags. It’s about 45 minutes too long. The editor should have excised a lot more than they did. They too rigidly adhered to the book (I’m guessing), and put as much shit on the screen as they could. Sometimes, less is more. They should have stuck with that mantra. With some tighter editing, this could have been thrilling instead of languid.

The Running Man is an adaptation, as well. However, it took huge liberties with the story. I’ve read the book, and, honestly, the movie is light years better. The film played to its strengths, letting Schwarzenegger be himself, infusing it with humor, and having the story progress in an interesting way. They managed to include a message about our changing tastes in entertainment, and it successfully predicted the reality TV boom. It took the core concept of the book and changed it to something that worked on-screen. That is the essence of a good adaptation.

Once again, Schwarzenegger is triumphant. In the 80s, he was a god of the cinema. Maybe The Hunger Games 5 will have Schwarzenegger lay waste to some of these snot-nosed kids. Now that would be entertaining!


The Running Man – Awesome

The Hunger Games – Shitty

16 Responses to “I Liked The Hunger Games Better When It Was Called The Running Man”

  1. November 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Heh, thanks for one more reason to ignore that franchise 😛 BTW if having kids kill each other is the only thing Running Man lacks, than one can just watch Battle Royale by Fukasaku Kinji to fill the gap. It’s not a masterpiece and had me bored at some points, but kids were definitely its biggest strength, they were quite credible. The Tournament also seemed decent, though I only watched something like 15 minutes on TV, and haven’t bought the DVD yet. But it interested me enough to buy it when it’s available.

    • November 23, 2015 at 7:38 am

      You’re welcome. I saw Battle Royale a really long time ago. I don’t recall being too impressed by it, but I certainly didn’t hate it, either. I think I’d have to watch it again before I gave any sort of opinion on it. Thanks for the comment!

      • November 29, 2015 at 6:41 am

        Yeah, I’m not a hardcore fan of it either. I just remember I liked it that it had teenagers acting like teenagers – hysterical and stupid. That was refreshing.

  2. 4 Themaster20000
    November 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Thank you for the comparisons! While am not the biggest of fan The Running Man(Arnold’s best action schlock is still Commando),it is certainly more entertaining than any of The Hunger films.

  3. 6 lokifire
    November 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Brik, there is ONE thing that’s better in life than watching Schwarzenegger kill bad guys and spout one-liners, and that is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women.

  4. November 24, 2015 at 1:32 am

    This review nailed it.

    Fuck the Hunger Games movies, and all their clones and pretenders to the throne. Fuck YA literature right in its asshole sideways.

    • November 24, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I hate all these fucking YA dystopian trash piles. What a waste of time, money, and energy.

    • November 30, 2015 at 1:49 am

      Oh yes, yes, yes! I still cannot grasp the concept of YA. I mean it’s kind of nice that authors honestly admit that what they write isn’t real literature and maybe I can even appreciate that some readers are able to humbly admit they are unable to consume proper books, but still… why?

  5. November 24, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    It’s been way too long since I last saw The Running Man – need to rectify that.

    Right with you, Brik – do not get the all out madness surrounding the shittyness of the Hunger Games. It’s definitely far too long, as you pointed out. It feels like nothing happens for years. The acting is so flat. Why????

    • November 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      It’s just the way the world is now. Find the newest YA dystopian novel and turn it into multiple films. Just spitting it into theaters is enough. They don’t need to have good acting. The kids will come in droves no matter what.

  6. 14 Dober
    November 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    The Hunger Games: Nobody looks very hungry to me, least of all Jennifer Lawrence.

    This is actually one of the things which would have been a big deal to me if I didn’t find the movie to be a piece of trash anyways. Simply because it breaks immersion and interferes with the actual premise.

    After seeing the above pictures again:
    I will remember this movie as the one making Elizabeth Banks so ugly she became unfuckable.

  7. 15 Paragraph Film Reviews
    December 3, 2015 at 4:21 am

    HEY, CHRISTMAS TREE!!! LOL’d at the Shaky Cam point! (And hipster Arnie)

    Already been mentioned, but Battle Royale did everything that HG did with adults in mind (blood on blades, kids explicitly killing kids). Took the edge of of HG for me. One of my favourite jokes in the world is – “Do you know what they call The Hunger Games in France? Battle Royale with Cheese” – works on so many levels.

    Going to have to dust off The Running Man – read the Bachman Book a while ago, but you can’t beat the one-liners

    • December 3, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Yeah. After doing this post I was surprised to see how many people love this movie! It’s really great! I really need to rewatch Battle Royale since most people seem to like it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

November 2015


BrikHaus - Find me on Bloggers.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 413 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: