Oct 6, 2008

Surviving the Game

I'd been meaning to see Surviving the Game for some time. I am a fan of the classic story and film The Most Dangerous Game. It sounded like a contemporary renewal of the timeless classic but what I got was more or less Ice T slinging Ebonics faster than the survival tactics he gratuitously attempts to display. After all, I was only expecting a decent film but shame on me. Surviving the Game may have been a bare victory but no one reaps the rewards.

Ice T plays Mason; a belligerent ignorant waste of a human life. In reality, he is a rapper turned actor. One of the first if I do say so myself. In this time, these rappers had a broad range of acting jobs, not just a crime/gangster film to which they are limited to in this modern age. The downfall of quality for sure. The plot of this film has been disguised, along with Hard Target's, to show sympathy towards homeless people. The truth is far from. This is a film that undoubtedly ends up degrading black people and their "street smart cred".

Ice T spends his time being an ignorant bastard who likes to pretend he has something smart to say. He isn't very good at the English language, not even with one-liners. He finds a hot ticket to get dough and takes it. This winds him up with a German tycoon (Rutger Hauer) with his black assistant, a Jew and his son, a sociopathic psychiatrist (Gary Busey) and an emotional random. They fine dine while commenting on the scruffy look and attitude of the ignorant guest. What Ice T doesn't know is that he is actually on the menu. Cue the "Get the fuck out of here. 10 minute head start" scene and that's where the film actually ends. The rest is just filler.

Throughout the course of this film, these self proclaimed hunters are constantly making folly's and undermining the Negro star. Eventually he uses cigarettes, his Timberlands, and the other tools of his Urban survival guide to make his way to freedom. In this film you will witness Ice T saying "Fuck" every 2 minutes. The promise of action is what really lures us in and this film has none. The high point of the film is Gary Busey and he is dispatched quick. Rutger Hauer never was given the chance to make this into a real cinematic treat and we go home unfulfilled.

By the end of the film, Ice T is muddy and grimy, soiled with natures excrement similar to the scene in Predator. Only this time, it forms a natural Blackface with Ice T's bloody lips. Such elements like these just give this film a sour flavor. It's times like these that makes me appreciate absurdities in cinema. I just wish that I could respect this film more. Ernest Dickerson is a no-talent hack that only really excels in directing story lines that were already preconceived, ala Television drama's. Surviving the Game is a game you won't want to survive after Busey is written out of the script.



Ryan said...

Good review...Def nothing like "The Most Dangerous Game." At a running time of something like 63mins "The Most Dangerous Game" still makes "Surviving the Game" look unispired.

Not to say that its not highly enjoyable.

I don't know if you reviewed it or not yet but if you haven't you should check out another gem from Ice-Ts library called "Trespass."

Anonymous said...

When I first saw this film I was blown away. It's low budget attitude and Ice Tea's portrayal was good.

I recently revisited this film and liked it just the same.

Gary Busey seems insane and his monologue in the cabin looks ad libbed.

There are also some heavy shots that Ice Tea (or a stuntman) are shown giving each other, which made it seem almost "real" at times.

Soiled Sinema said...

I loved Gary Busey's character. For me, He made this film enjoyable. I didn't hate the film, in the purest sense of the word. I was just left heavily disappointed and wanted more bang for my non-existent buck.