It has often been claimed that The Running Man is an unacknowledged remake of this film. Frankly I have my doubts. Nor does it really bear much resemblance to the Robert Sheckley short story that inspired it.
Of course, translating any French movie into an American market remake is bound to dumb it down, but the savage satire on display here is not something we would ever find comfortable. The real story here is not that a desperate young man would risk his life for a huge prize, but the political maneuvering to keep this murderous show on the air; the hidden machinations of the game where every twist and turn of the deadly chase has been planned out in advance – including their young star’s death; and the The Price Is Right enthusiasm of the audience. Certainly, the ending, where the show’s audience is given the final word wouldn’t play with the typical matinee audience expecting a little light entertainment with its popcorn.
It is, however, always interesting to encounter Jean-Claude Dreyfus (the murderous butcher from Delicatessen), this time as one of the volunteer hunters, hoping finally to indulge his dream of murdering someone.
(English subtitles available here)