Even as The Hunger Games nears its theatrical debut, there are snarky individuals who like to drop comments about how the film is a recycled version of earlier films like The Running Man, or Japenese cult-classic Battle Royale - or (to lesser extent) deathmatch films like The Condemned. However, these so-called "insights" lack, well, insight into what The Hunger Games is truly about.
Sure, there are obvious shades of influence all over Suzanne Collins' work, but the fact is that Collins succeeded in creating her own unique characters, narrative, and thematic angles - as well as a world and mythos that is all her own. While The Hunger Games does intersect with other, similar, stories at certain points, it is also more modern and topical than any of the aforementioned films it's being compared to.
Genre movies often share similar premises - it's all about the uniqueness of the story that's crafted within that premise. In the case of Hunger Games, that story is one worth exploring.