Tag Archives: The Running Man

All Superheroes Must Die: ‘Saw’ meets ‘The Running Man’…with Superheroes?

We have some information on an interesting new movie called All Superheroes Must Die. Before I go into too much detail of the story, here is the teaser trailer to give you an idea of what type of film director Jason Trost has made.

Looks pretty interesting does it not? From the get go it is action packed and has a very dark edge to it. Here is the full trailer which gives a lot more information away.

Now this looks like an incredibly exciting concept for a film. The low tech approach to the superheroes is probably to do with budgetary reasons, but I think in this case it will actually work in the films favor, because it gives it a Kick Ass feel to it. Young (possibly inexperienced) superheroes fighting against a tournament of death with what seems like no powers, has must see written all over it. For the superhero movie genre this is a new way of thinking. But there are parallels to other movies as well. The first that springs to mind is the Saw franchise. An older main villain who has set a series of life threatening traps involving civilians which look like they will go off unless the superhero does something they don’t really want to do. Yes this has all the makings of a Saw meets Kick Ass extravaganza. The photography has that very dark and grainy look we all associate with Saw movies as well.

all superheroes must die heroes

The more exciting thing I noticed however was how it felt a lot like The Running Man. There are at least two super villains in here, one pumped up fighter in a massive homemade wrestling ring and a psycho Uncle Sam with a flame thrower. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg for the super villains in this movie. The personalized settings for each villain and what looks like their own mode of killing (brute strength and fire) certainly harks back to this classic 80’s movie.

The inclusion of a sinister, yet calm villain played by James Remar (Dexter and The Warriors) looks to be a great casting choice. What I noticed about his character is he seems a lot like the assassin Arcade from Marvel Comics. In the comics he would torment the heroes by putting them into killer challenges, all involving them having to figure out a way of not getting murdered. They both even have a bow tie (though to be fair Arcades is a lot bigger).

All this in just a short 1 minute and 30 second trailer! This movie has a release date of January time, but it is unclear if or how long it will have a cinema release for. No matter what happens, on its release this is a film to look out for in the future.

Source: Bleeding Cool

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VHS Vault: The Truth About ‘Missing in Action 2’

Chuck Norris. That should be enough to make any action hound jump up in joy. It’s a sequel that’s a prequel so we should be in for a wild ride here. We don’t learn much about Chuck other than he is bad ass (which we already knew) but we learn a little more about his surroundings and the reason he is a bad ass in part one. Okay, you want more plot information, well here you go. Chuck plays Colonel James Braddock, a mostly quiet, reserved guy keeping an eye on his troops. You see, it’s just after the Vietnam War and these poor soldiers have been held captive by the evil Colonel Yin for 10 years.

Continue reading VHS Vault: The Truth About ‘Missing in Action 2’

The Hunger Games: The Influences…

With the approaching release of The Hunger Games (March 23rd), I thought it would be a good time to gain (or regain) some perspective on the possible influences on the plot of the much acclaimed book series.  Now, when I first thought of writing on this topic, I took the stance that the book series, written by Susanne Collins, was simply a bastardization of some quality pieces of art and entertainment (not always at the same time). After sharing some of those thoughts with my 7th grade students – Collins target audience – I have realized that many fans of the series are blindly convinced of its originality, as well as the authenticity of the themes and plot of the books. However, they are just as blindly willing to watch or read the various films and novels that have shaped their being.

Before going any further, I know many of you will automatically think, “Nothing is original anymore!” If you want to have that argument, view the profound “Everything Is a Remix” blog. My point here is not to say that unoriginality is terrible, but rather point out possible influences on the forthcoming movie which I think are more interesting and poignant than the young adult novels.

Theseus and the Minotaur

One of the greatest places to find stories to reinvent is from Greek and Roman Mythology. The premise of the hero Theseus running around the Labyrinth contending with a Minotaur as punishment for the wrong-doings of Athens is intriguing. In a Q and A with publisher Scholastic, Collins admitted that the basic premise of a government that sends youths into a battleground as punishment for the past came from the brutal Greek Myth.

This is a pretty clear modernization of that basic premise.

The Running Man (1987)

The next step in forming The Hunger Games is obvious: include the Governator. The basic plot of The Running Man is that a wrongly accused man is set for public execution on television. This is not simply flick of the switch type execution. Rather, the execution is a commercially driven television game show, in which viewers are rewarded with entertainment, and not necessarily justice. The movie is like many Arnie flicks: lots of campy action, one liners, and guilty pleasures. However, the premise is disturbing, and the idea that people gain entertainment from others’ pain and suffering is appalling, if not true to modern times, i.e. Survivor, Mixed Martial Arts, and any “reality” dating, singing, or makeover show.

The connection to Collins’ series is clear: the people in the Capital city of Panem are completely desensitized to the violence of ‘the Hunger Games’, and find the brutal destruction and death to be the greatest form of entertainment.

Battle Royale (2000)

In the near future, 42 students are forced by Japanese legislation to compete in Battle Royale, an all-out three day massacre in which all students are given a random weapon, some meager supplies, and are told that only one student can come out alive.

Sound familiar?

If you haven’t seen Battle Royale, you really shouldn’t be allowed to see The Hunger Games, which will seem like a Disney story in comparison. The violence is disturbing, and the reactions of the students are likely very accurate as to how the masses would act in such a situation. Battle Royale comes across more on the psychological mutilation that occurs within people, and the inhumanity that a government requires to keep control.

Besides these main three, there are many other allusions one could infer from the Hunger Games. These connections are slightly vaguer, and may apply to the second and third books in the series, so my logic may not hold…

Star Wars

Youth becomes the face of rebellion. Youth’s mentor is a has-been, and doesn’t inform youth of all that he knows. Like the fact that his father IS Darth Vader!

Twilight

Love triangle. Which one of the flawless mates will she choose? Bah.

With the success of the publishing of Twilight in 2005, it is not surprising that Collins (who published in 2008) chose the love triangle angle instead of a Romeo and Juliet type.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The struggles of youths faced with the politics of ‘survival of the fittest’.

Regardless of whether you are a fan of The Hunger Games or not, you’ve got to appreciate many of the themes explored through it and its predecessors. Despite my perpetual pessimism with popular culture, and my want for originality in art and entertainment, I can take solace in how Collins responded to the question: “What do you hope your readers will come away with…?”

Collins: “Questions about how elements of the book might be relevant in their own lives. And, if they’re disturbing, what they might do about them.”

Clone Wars Season 3 Finale: Padawan Lost & Wookie Hunt

The Clone Wars finale is finally here with the episodes “Padawan Lost” and “Wookie Hunt”. And be forewarned, Chewbacca doesn’t show up until the second episode, so keep your lightsaber holstered for a minute. I’m about to cover both episodes in a single review – prepare to have your mind blown!

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Turn back while you can!*

The best way to describe this episode is: Star Wars meets a blend of Surviving the Game, Running Man and Hard Target. We start off the planet Felucia again, and this is the third time unless I’m mistaken. I really wish they would change-up planets instead of revisiting all of the same ones. That aside, Felucia looked awesome down to the last detail of tiny bugs crawling over the plant life.

Felucia…again.
Owned!

As Anakin, Plo Koon and Ahsoka are leading an attack on the Separatist base, Ahsoka gets stunned and taken captive by a Trandoshan who leaves the planet for parts unknown. If you’re wondering what a Trandoshan is, it’s the same species as Bossk from The Empire Strikes Back and season 2 of Clone Wars. They are also the mortal enemies of the Wookies, their popular pass-times being: Hunting the walking carpets and using them for slave labor.

Ahoska awakes aboard a transport, another prisoner aboard telling her that these Trandoshans capture people, and then release them in order to hunt them for sport. After being dropped off weaponless on a moon called Wasskah in the Trandosh System, Ahsoka is scattered from the other prisoners by blaster fire from the Trandoshans. It’s not long before Ahsoka is found by three others who have been there for a long time. They reveal themselves to be Jedi younglings, stating that the Trandoshans hunt them because they are far less dangerous than a Jedi Knight. Kalifa, seems to be the group leader, with the grumpy Twi-Lek Jinx and the more calm Cerean O-Mer as her companions. They explain to Ahsoka the situation they are in and try explaining that it is best to run and hide to survive instead of fighting the Trandoshans. As one might predict, Ahsoka isn’t too keen on that advice.

The Padawans from left to right: O-Mer, Jinx, Kalifa and Ahsoka

After finding one of the Trandoshans and giving him a good old-fashioned group beat down, the padawans flee into the jungle once more. That night, inspired by Ahsoka’s defiance, they decide to search for the Trandoshan base and make a stand. This doesn’t go very well as the padawans become seperated, resulting in the death of the Trandoshan leader Garnac’s son at the hand of Ahsoka. Kalifa is in turn killed by the papa lizard in a very emotional scene. This is where Ahsoka promises to look after O-mer and Jinx as her newly found friend slowly passes on.

“Excuse me, you have a laser bolt coming out of your chest.”

If there was ever a time that this was not considered a kid friendly show, these two episodes would be it. Especially in the first episode. To start off, the bloodthirsty Trandoshans are hunting freakin’ kids for sport with all intentions of displaying their bodies in a trophy room. They shoot and kill three of the hunted on-screen, and one of the hunter’s falls onto a spike and gets impaled before our very eyes. It’s all well and good for me as an adult, but for kids watching the show they may have some nightmares. Personally I wish all of the episodes were adult themed as this one was. Now, let’s get to Chewbacca.

These guys need to be returned to the Jerk Store

In ‘Wookie Hunt’, Ahsoka narrowly escapes from the Trandoshans, but finally meets up with O-Mer and Jinx who are about to give up upon hearing of Kalifa’s death. Ahsoka has other ideas and inspires the remaining two Padawans to join her in attacking the next transport that will drop prisoners. The scene with the Padawans attacking the transport was very cool, one of the Trandoshans was even using a shotgun that Trandoshan slavers used in the Republic Commando video game. After the ship crashes spectacularly, the younglings stumble upon Chewbacca who was the only prisoner aboard. Ahsoka can conveniently understand the Wookie and he shows some of his technological prowess by putting together a communication device to contact his fellow fuzzballs. I won’t spoil anymore of the episode by telling you who lives and dies by the end of the episode, but I can say to expect some Wookie rage, a couple familiar characters, and some Trando-bashing by the end of it all.

“I SAID GOOD DAY SIR!”

This finale was about as good as I expected from the previews and even went in a different direction than I thought with the whole hunting aspect. Chewbacca could easily have been any random Wookie, but I liked that they gave the fans a familiar face for the end of the season. It definitely beats out the Boba Fett finale from last year, which I was a bit let down by.

The Trandoshans were a very nice addition to the Clone Wars series. The sounds they made kind of reminded me of the raptors from Jurassic Park 3 (but in a good way) by the way they called for help with high-pitched screeching, and the way they growled in attack mode. They sure were a sadistic lot of scumbags. Garnac, their leader, had quite an extensive trophy room consisting of many notable species from the Star Wars universe, and a couple of cool ones for the fans including a Mandalorian Neo-Crusader helmet from the Old Republic and what appeared to be a crystal skull from Indiana Jones.

The voice acting was a bit hit and miss with the Trando voices themselves being a bit over the top. But the padawans Kalifa, Jinx and O-Mer were very nicely done. And I give Clone Wars veteran voice actress Gwendoline Yeo extra props, because in real life she is smoking hot!

Gwendoline Yeo – voice of Kalifa in The Clone Wars

We were also treated to a quick preview of season 4 of the Clone Wars coming out this Fall. Shots included underwater battles involving the Mon Calamari species (Ackbar!), another Anakin/Dooku fight, and what looks to be a bad-ass Gungan fighting General Grievous, if you can believe that. There was also plenty of shootings and a couple explosions so you can’t go wrong there!