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Movie Review: The Hunger Games

I finally got around to seeing Hunger Games, and it was worth the wait! And by that I mean I’m glad I waited to see it on video. A remake of the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Richard Dawson classic “The Running Man”, Hunger Games is lacking the pizzaz of the Schwarzenegger version. Richard Dawson famously played Damon Killian, the game show’s host, to perfection, creepily kissing all the contestants before sending them on their way to a brutal death. Jennifer Lawrence, as Katniss Everdeen, lacks Schwarzenegger’s sheer brawn and power in the lead role. I had a hard time buying Lawrence in the lead role that Schwarzenegger made famous in that classic role.

Okay, the first third of the movie is really boring. Katniss lives in the lowest “district,” which is guess is the equivalent of living in the deep south in today’s America. She does manage to wear outfits that look like they came from Nordstrom, so how bad could it be? When her sister is picked to play in the hunger games, she volunteers to take her place. She is than whisked away to the 1st district, where everyone is crazy, dressed in costumes and talking like they’re all heavily medicated and don’t know what’s going on. She is on a talk show hosted by Stanley Tucci and hangs out with Woody Harrelson (best known as Woody on TV’s Cheers) as she prepares for the games.

Finally, about half way through the movie, the games begin, which is basically a bunch of kids released into the woods and told to murder each other until only one remains. This is when the movie gets pretty good, but again, I found myself missing Arnold and his fun, Christmas-light covered and chain-saw wielding opponents. It’s hard to compare the two, since Schwarzenegger was such an amazing actor and The Running Man was such a great film, but I can’t help myself. The Hunger Games is good, but I was hoping for a bit more…

Grade – B

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