film reel image

film reel image

Friday, November 19, 2021

Survive the Game 2021 * 1/2 Stars


"So much for no killing". Exactly. There's a lot of "killing" in 2021's Survive the Game. Some of it stings but in the end there's just too much of it (quantity over quality I guess). 

Now is Survive the Game a mess? Of course it is. There's plenty of fistfights where you can't see what's going on and editing of character actions where viewer POV is badly skewed. And is Survive the Game the type of shoot 'em up where the antagonists have to constantly explain themselves before doing any darn thing? Oh fo sho. 

Anyhow, "Game" has virtually no plot or no plot that is fully spelled out (look ma). And yup, co-star Bruce Willis is back in the saddle again, barely moving, collecting his million dollar paycheck, and begrudgingly getting out his lines (was there an earpiece involved? Maybe). Sure Willis spars a little with the bad guys but you know what, his stunt double probably did all the heavy lifting. You can tell.

Reminiscent of 2016's Standoff (another VOD endeavor) and directed by LA native James Cullen Bressack (Beyond the Law, Bethany), Survive the Game is about a drug mob who infiltrates a dude's farmhouse trying to leave no witnesses behind. "Game" is I suppose a pseudo Western or a mere parody of action thrillers. There's bad humor involved, a main black hat who looks like a 16-year-old, and plenty of slick cinematography that's drenched in its own slickness. 

And I might as well talk about the two car chases in "Game" since I'm on a roll. Bressack sets them up to some horrendous rap music, has them cut by monkeys, and basically shoots from just two slants. It's a bad couple of sequences and the low-angle patchiness is off the charts. Somewhere the great William Friedkin is laughing his arse off. And somewhere every critic is trying to "survive" what they just saw at 97 minutes (which feels like 2 hours). Natch.  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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