Surviving the Game [1994]

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
Stars: Rutger Hauer, Ice-T, Charles S. Dutton, Gary Busey, F. Murray Abraham
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 96 minutes

One more time around for the storyline of The Most Dangerous Game, except this one's refitted with explosions, big guns, and a flood of testosterone. Ice-T plays Mason, a homeless man shanghaied from the streets of Los Angeles to work as a guide and all-around man Friday for a hunting party. What the down-on-his-luck fellow soon finds out is that he is the quarry, and has to rely on his own resourcefulness to stay one step ahead of his tormentors. Laden with atrocious dialogue and narrative implausibilities, this is still a fun action movie if seen only for its own merits and nothing more. The fine cast (Gary Busey, Charles Dutton, F. Murray Abraham, John C. McGinley) chews the script until practically frothing at the mouth while trying to out-maniac each other. Busey is the head macho lunatic, but the twitchy McGinley nearly steals the show as he turns the knob on the weirdo meter up to eleven, then breaks it off and throws it away. Ice-T, on the other hand, puts his coping skills to the test as the hapless human prey. Most of director Ernest R. Dickerson's resumé has consisted of cinematography work (for Spike Lee, among others), and it shows with the film's competent, almost glossy look. Don't watch Surviving the Game expecting any great statements or overarching agendas, and you'll be surprised by an untentionally goofy action picture with preposterous situations and wide-open-throttle performances. Plus, chances are you've never seen a foot-wide pine tree chopped down with a shotgun (we kid you not). --Jerry Renshaw

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