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Monday, April 2, 2012

Hunger Games-Like Movies on DVD

Written by Kirk Baird, film critic and Detroit Film Critics Society member

Given the record-breaking popularity of The Hunger Games at the theater—$152.5 million for the film’s opening weekend, the largest for a non-sequel—fans of Suzanne Collins’ book-to-film as well as those wondering what the buzz is all about are sure to pack theaters for the next several weeks.

To sate the appetites of those who have already seen the movie and want more, or are simply not yet ready to brave the lines, here are some similarly themed films about dark future societies that feed on life-or-death contests:
  • The Battle Royale Complete Collection: These controversial Japanese films were released in 2000 but are finally making it to the U.S. for the first time. Set in a near future in which our world is nearly in ruins, each year a ninth-grade class is sent to a remote island to hunt and kill each other until there is a single survivor. 
  • Series 7: The Contenders: Released in 2001, this media/pop culture satire has developed quite the cult following. The film focuses on a reality show where randomly selected contestants must kill to earn freedom and fame.
  • The Running Man: Stephen King wrote two stories about games of death set in the future, but so far only one has been adapted into a motion picture—1987’s The Running Man. This Sci-Fi actioner set in 2019 stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in his movie-star prime as a framed prisoner given one chance at freedom by participating in the gladiator game-show spectacle known as The Running Man. 
  • Death Race 2000: Roger Corman’s film posited a dystopian future where participants in a cross-country car chase earn points by running down innocent pedestrians. The 1975 film stars David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. The 2008 remake stars action-film extraordinaire Jason Statham and Ian McShane.

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