Surviving the Game

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Mason (Ice T) is a homeless man who decides to end it all by walking in front of a semi-truck. Cole (Charles S. Dutton) saves Mason and offers him a job. Cole and his partner, Mr. Burns (Rutger Hauer) run a hunting/survival activity called Hell's Canyon Outfitters. At the canyon lodge, Mason meets the hunting group, including Derek Wolf, Jr. (William McNamara) and his father, Wolf Sr. (F. Murray Abraham), a business man trying to teach his son the "killer instinct." The group leader is Doc Hawkins (Gary Busey), a psychiatrist who sees hunting as therapy. His patient, Griffin (John C. McGinley), is trying to deal with losing his daughter to a rapist. Mason realizes he is the hunted in this game when he finds the "trophy heads" of past victims with his name on an empty jar. A city dweller, he must learn to hide and survive in the wild while hunted by the group. Avoid this predictable and sometimes socially preachy movie.

Under the guise of a street mission, Cole selects the homeless for Hell's Canyon Outfitters' prey. Its business logo uses a satanic face, and there are several occultic articles in the room. Doc Hawkins seems more mentally unhinged than his patients. Derek appears to have some revulsion at hunting a man, but not enough courage to confront his father. Wolf, Sr. considers Derek weak since he doesn't act ruthless in business, and hopes the hunt will change him. When Derek dies in a fall, his father blames Mason and seeks revenge. Typically, there is plenty of violence but it's somewhat subdued. Graphic scenes include a man shot in the head, Cole's legs blown off with the bloody stumps shown, a brief shot of a man impaled by an arrow, and the gruesome bottled heads. Although there is no nudity or sexual content, an appalling amount of profanity and obscene language more than make up for it. Mason shows himself better than the hunters, but only marginally. Time with the Lord would be a better way of surviving this game.

Preview Reviewer: Paul R. Bicking
FineLine Cinema, 575 8th Ave., 16th Flr, NY, NY 10018

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (28) times - Mild 9, Moderate 19

Obscene Language: Many (108) times (f-word 60, s-word 46, other 2)

Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (fist hits, arrow through chest, kicks in crotch, head butts, head hit on tree, gunshot wound, legs blown off, strangling, fall down hills, shot in head, fall off cliff (no impact shown), severed heads in bottles, boar's head on dinner table

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Overheard discussion in skid-row hotel

Drugs: Cigarette/cigar smoke, alcoholic drinks, possible use of marijuana once

Other: Occult images/implied references; disregard for human life; crude scratching

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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