Surviving the Game Preview

Just as Future Mikey #1 is approaching Jamie and Patrick to figuratively rip out their hearts, Repo Men style (as the kids say), they hear someone say, “Don’t you lay a finger on those butterfingers, baby.” They all stare slack-jawed as Future Mikey #2 unexpectedly kicks Future Mikey #1 in the testicles… hard. They all laugh, obviously, and then turn their attention to Future Mikey #2. “I think we all are on the same page now,” begins Jamie, “Nice to meet you Future Mikey who was a teenhearthrob-turned-timecop.” Future Mikey #2 nods his head. It’s true, unbeknownst to Future Mikey #1 he had inadvertently crossed the time-stream (pardon the technical term) and picked up a Future Mikey timecop who held the Bad Movie Twins in the highest esteem. “I bided my time, waiting till I could help you by taking you… back to the future.” They all chuckle and sigh. Anyway, time to get going. But before they can get in their PT Cruiser time machine they hear a chilling gurgling sound from behind them. It’s Future Mikey #1! He’s on his feet, pistol in hand, blood pouring from his nose and mouth as a result of his crushed testes. “You… you… can’t stop the future.” But before he can shoot a microphone spins into view and knocks the pistol slightly off target. Mikey Myers has caught up just in time to save the day! The bullet ricochets off a nearby hot dog cart, back through the window of the PT Cruiser, and destroys the control panel in a shower of sparks. “Quick, we’ll have to get to my time machine,” Future Mikey #2 says before looking back Future Mikey #1, now reloading his pistol. “If we can survive.” That’s right! We are watching the Ice-T classic that everyone remembers is a film. It’s called Surviving the Game and is one of several Most Dangerous Game adaptations that have washed up on BMT shores over the years. We are pairing it with another Ice-T straight-to-dvd film called Sonic Impact. Why? Mostly because it looks rad and was so hard to find I ended up having to buy it used. Can’t go wrong with a plane flick. Let’s go!

Surviving the Game (1994) – BMeTric: 20.7; Notability: 24

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 30.0%; Notability: top 32.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 26.5%; Higher BMeT: Street Fighter, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, Double Dragon, On Deadly Ground, The Flintstones, It’s Pat: The Movie, North, The Fantastic Four, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, Exit to Eden, In the Army Now, Color of Night, Richie Rich, Car 54, Where Are You?, Blank Check, My Girl 2, and 55 more; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, The Shadow, Wyatt Earp, Beverly Hills Cop III, Love Affair, Ready to Wear, North, Radioland Murders, I Love Trouble, The Pagemaster, Exit to Eden, Little Giants, Street Fighter, Drop Zone, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Speechless, Junior, Thumbelina, The Scout, The Specialist, and 60 more; Lower RT: Wagons East, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, House Party 3, Death Wish: The Face of Death, It’s Pat: The Movie, The Silence of the Hams, Holy Matrimony, Car 54, Where Are You?, Getting Even with Dad, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Major League II, Exit to Eden, Trapped in Paradise, Lightning Jack, In the Army Now, Leprechaun 2, The Specialist, The Next Karate Kid, Trial by Jury, Blank Check, and 42 more; Notes: Hmmmm, maybe a cult classic then. Above 6.0 for a film like this is interesting. One of the lower notability / BMeTric films we’ve done in a while. Should be fun.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Only the absence of Maria Conchita Alonso keeps this umpteenth variation of The Most Dangerous Game from having the definitive schlock action cast, as destitute Ice-T is unwittingly hired to perform vague duties at a secluded woodsy resort, only to learn he’s the prey of high-roller hunters. Sub-routine chase pic is Confusion City all the way; it’s difficult to believe that the same plot could be recycled less than a year after John Woo’s far more stylish Hard Target.

(Hard Target was good. Also, return of the semicolon! Oh how I’ve missed you my old friend. And finally, nice to see Maltin definitively not thinking this is a cult classic. Makes a lot of sense. Maltin reveres old Hollywood pictures it feels like, so a useless remake of a classic isn’t going to sit super well with him.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SdUm-xFu38/

(Yeah, looks like crap. Insane Gary Busey though. That could be fun. A bit of an odd choice for an ensemble cast, but I guess you need bodies if Ice-T is going to kill a bunch of people.)

DirectorsErnest R. Dickerson – ( Known For: Juice; Ambushed; Double Play; Blind Faith; Future BMT: Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; BMT: Surviving the Game; Bulletproof; Bones; Never Die Alone; Notes: We’ve seen a lot of his films in the last year. I mentioned in the Bones preview that he is most notable for being Spike Lee’s cinematographer on a his early films.)

WritersEric Bernt – ( Known For: The Echo; Future BMT: Virtuosity; The Hitcher; BMT: Romeo Must Die; Surviving the Game; Highlander: Endgame; Notes: Virtuosity is basically the only bad 90s future film we haven’t seen for BMT. Produced the television series Z Nation.)

ActorsRutger Hauer – ( Known For: Batman Begins; Blade Runner; Sin City; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; The Sisters Brothers; Iron Mask; The Osterman Weekend; Ladyhawke; The Hitcher; Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; Flesh+Blood; Split Second; Nighthawks; Hobo with a Shotgun; Turkish Delight; Minotaur; Blind Fury; 24 Hours to Live; Spetters; Soldier of Orange; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Samson; Wanted: Dead or Alive; The Letters; BMT: The Rite; Surviving the Game; Notes: My lockdown sourdough starter was names Rutger Sour. He’s Dutch. Was in the military, but forced his way out by convincing his superiors that he was mentally unfit for service.)

Ice-T – ( Known For: The Other Guys; New Jack City; Ricochet; CB4; Trespass; Ticker; Who’s the Man?; Mean Guns; Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn; Below Utopia; Ablaze; ‘R Xmas; Final Voyage; Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang; Sonic Impact; What Now; Corrupt; The Alternate; The Wrecking Crew; Future BMT: Tank Girl; UglyDolls; Breakin’; Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo; BMT: Johnny Mnemonic; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Surviving the Game; Notes: Also was in the military, but dropped out after four years to pursue music. Was one of the originators of Gansta Rap, and now is probably more well-known as an actor on Law & Order: SVU.)

Charles S. Dutton – ( Known For: Se7en; A Time to Kill; Alien 3; Menace II Society; Secret Window; Mimic; Mississippi Masala; Rudy; Cat’s Eye; Eye See You; Q&A; Bad Ass; The Express; Cookie’s Fortune; Jacknife; Get on the Bus; Cry, the Beloved Country; The Monkey’s Paw; Honeydripper; American Violet; Future BMT: Legion; Gothika; The Perfect Guy; Nick of Time; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Fame; The Distinguished Gentleman; Last Dance; Against the Ropes; BMT: Crocodile Dundee II; Surviving the Game; Random Hearts; Black Dog; No Mercy; Notes: He won three Emmys for The Corner (Directing), The Practice, and Without a Trace (both as a Guest Star). Went to Yale. Was originally supposed to be in Halloween: H20, but his role was eventually cut.)

Budget/Gross – $7.4 million / Domestic: $7,727,256 (Worldwide: $7,727,256)

(Huh … like not a bomb? It is wild that a film like this could make nearly $10 million. It seems like a direct-to-video effort through and through.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (4/17)

(Oh boy, I get to make a consensus: Poorly written with absurd action sequences, Surviving the Game is merely yet-another derivative action flick.)

Reviewer Highlight: Essentially, the movie is Cliffhanger with one third the firepower.  – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Sklogifying the Game

(Wooooowwwwww. That’s bad. Like real bad. The colors are bad. That spacing is bad. Nothing makes sense. It creates more questions than answers. Only positive is a little font work. D.)

Tagline(s) – The thrill is the kill. (A)

(I mean, I can’t deny that it is a fun tagline. The thing that bothers me a little is that the poster and the tagline kinda, you know, give me the unsettling feeling that the makers of the movie kinda were digging Ice-T getting hunted. He barely appears on the poster and he’s the hero. Everyone else are trash people who hunt people… but yeah, the thrill of the kill, for sure. Still can’t dock it much on moral grounds. It’s a good tagline.)

Keyword(s) – hunting, survival

Top 10: The Blue Lagoon (1980), Avatar (2009), The Hunger Games (2012), Split (2016), The Hunt (2020), Predator (1987), Apocalypto (2006), Jurassic World (2015), Ice Age (2002), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

Future BMT: 34.0 Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), 30.4 Wrong Turn (2003), 27.6 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 12.4 Brother Bear (2003)

BMT: The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dreamcatcher (2003), The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986), Surviving the Game (1994)

Matches: Surviving the Game (1994)

(Decided to go for the double. Very interesting that it seems like a boom in the 00s/10s, although I couldn’t possibly give you a solid theory as to why. Out of the possible upcoming BMTs I would be most excited for Wrong Turn.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Charles S. Dutton is No. 3 billed in Surviving the Game and No. 3 billed in Random Hearts, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (3 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 3) = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – According to Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey wrote his entire dinner monologue about the origin of his scar himself. The script had several scenes of Hauer’s character Burns establishing his natural leadership by reminding the other hunters to abide by his rules. Originally, the dinner scene would be the moment where he puts Busey’s character Doc back in his place. However, on the day of rehearsals, Busey came up with a two-page monologue about his dog that he wanted to try out. Hauer felt that Busey was obviously trying to steal his scene away by not giving him a chance to intervene in his monologue. So during the actual filming, Hauer improvised a quick response to the story by calling it “bullshit”, which greatly confused Busey. However, Busey’s delivery so impressed the director and the other actors that his monologue was kept in the final film, and Hauer’s retort wasn’t used.

This movie was released less than a year after Hard Target (1993), with a similar plot about homeless people being hunted for sport.

The landing strip and cabin seen in the movie are at Lake Wenatchee State Airport, Washington, which is very close to civilization. The cabin has since been torn down.

While staying in Wenatchee, Washington in September 1993 during the shooting of this movie, F. Murray Abraham was injured in a car crash, suffering a fractured wrist, bruised ribs, and facial lacerations, after he was struck by a drunk driver.

Almost all of the “city” scenes were filmed in downtown Wenatchee, Washington. Most scenes were filmed with a two-block perimeter of Mission, Orondo, Palouse, and Columbia streets, plus the alley behind the Liberty Theater off of Mission Street. The area includes the infamous Bruce Hotel, which became Bruce Transitional Housing for the homeless in the early 2000s.

This is one of numerous movies based on the short story “The Most Dangerous Game”, written by Richard Connell, first published in 1924 in Collier’s Magazine.

Despite being bookended by scenes set in Seattle, Washington, not a single frame of the movie was actually shot there.

The same year this movie was released, Ice-T’s metal band Body Count recorded an unrelated song with the title “Surviving the Game”, which appeared on their second album, “Born Dead”.

While traveling to the campsite in the plane…Jack Mason ( Ice T ) looks out the window…Below was an Albino moose… In Canada, it is a unique variety and is considered by the local population and good luck to the indigenous culture.