Run for the Money review – run, keep running and don’t get caught

By Romey Norton
Published: November 16, 2022 (Last updated: January 19, 2023)
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An adult version of the school game tag, it was too tame and safe for me to be truly invested and care who wins. It’s probably more fun taking part than watching.

We review the Netflix reality competition series Run for the Money season 1, which was released on November 15th, 2022.

Run for the Money is a reality competition show where celebrity contestants desperately try to outmaneuver black-clad Hunters in pursuit of a chance to win a growing cash prize. With four episodes, all lasting one hour each, this is an easy watch for anyone who likes reality game show series. There are subtitles available.

In 2004, Run for the Money first aired on Fuji TV, and was the “real-life tag” game show and has been popular throughout Japan for people of all ages. The show is inspired by “onigokko,” the traditional Japanese game of tag. In 2009 it won best Game or Quiz Programme at the Asian Television Awards, and in 2010 was nominated in the non-scripted entertainment category at the International Emmy awards. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Netflix, after a successful run of introducing game shows, has picked up on this and brought it to their giant streaming service. 

In this series twenty-nine participants, which include artists, actors, influencers, comedians, and athletes, all attempt to escape the clutches of the feared hunters, and if they can, they will win a grand cash prize. Basically, they need to run, keep running and try not to get caught. It’s an adult version of tag, or in the UK we call it “tig”. Whilst this game is fun, it gets repetitive and boring pretty fast as you run out of breath and give up. Will the monetary value make it more interesting? They have chances to increase the prize pot throughout with small tasks, but it still falls flat. 

Like other Asian game show series, this one is a mixture of serious and seriously insane. The show opens with giant neon disco trunks surrounding a group of players. Each contestant is dressed in bright clothing like you’re at an 80s/90s rave as they are released and begin to run around the city. Then a bunch of men dressed in suits and masks and dark glasses is released out of the neon trucks to capture them (think Neo from the matrix chasing you in the dark streets of a city.) 

All bright and jokes aside, this is an adult version of tag and could be pretty terrifying. For me, this was a bit too lame and tame. They could have really pushed the boundaries and made this a serious cat-and-mouse chase, building tension and intensity but instead, the bright lights and ridiculous costumes made it cheesy and fake. When they’re actually captured nothing happens to them. They’re tapped and then they’re out. The scenery/setting is rather lovely though, the locations are bright and colorful and we’re given aerial views of the people running and being chased. It’s brief but it gives depth and perspective. 

From watching series like Release the Hounds, films like The Hunger Games, and playing online games like PUBG, this series felt easy and safe. Also, wouldn’t the cameras following the contestants and hunters give them away? It felt silly and basic from the start. Maybe I’m getting too serious and dark in my old age of thirty and need to see the basic, fun side of this game. It’s probably more fun playing than watching. Overall, it’s an easy watch, something that you can have on in the background and not pay too much attention to. For me, I won’t be watching a second season, if it gets one. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

What did you think of the Netflix reality competition series Run for the Money season 1? Comment below.

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