Whether it be The Hunger Games or Battle Royale or The Running Man, there’s no shortage of movies about sci-fi dystopias where people must compete in some way, shape, or form in hopes of staying alive, and it’s in that tradition that Game of Death carries on. Rather than envisioning some crazy world where things like those other dystopic competitions could exist, Game of Death, from production companies La Guerrilla, Rockzeline, and Blackpills, takes a much more intimate approach that allowed the story to be carried out with a much smaller budget. Another difference this movie has from those other movies I mentioned is that those films range from “good” to “not bad,” whereas this film is definitely bad. Oh well!
“Hey guys…what if Jumanji…was spooky?!”
You know what Millennials love doing? FUCKING PARTYING!!! Our group of teens loves drugs, booze, sex, and selfies. All those things that we’ve heard about Millennials liking! Ya know what else Millennials love? Playing board games! Especially if this is a board game called “Game of Death.” The only difference about this game is that the only rules are that you need to kill someone every hour for 24 hours, or the game begins killing players…somehow? Although they doubt the severity of the game’s rules, when the players’ heads begin to explode one at a time, the surviving teens know it’s kill or be killed, empowering some while terrifying others. Will these wild-ass teens be wild enough to complete their task, will they stop one another, or will they be stopped by authorities? Guess you’ll have to watch the movie to find out!
This is why you don’t eat peanuts if you have an allergy!
Wait, actually, you know that thing I just said about watching the movie? I don’t actually recommend you do that. Conceptually, the film is perfectly adequate, and I genuinely meant what I said about how the narrative features a classic premise with a lo-fi spin in a seemingly engaging way, but the biggest issue with Game of Death is that all of the characters are insufferable. If I had it my way, every single character would have died immediately and we potentially would have watched a blank screen for the remaining hour. Remember how you hated everything that the lead characters in Spring Breakers represented but were still compelled to see how their adventure played out? Well, imagine that, but the opposite. Oh yeah, and two of the Millennials were brother and sister having a love affair and I have no idea what the hell that was all about, but it was definitely in there…for some reason.
“Oh my god…you agreed to be in this movie too?!”
I know what you’re saying; you’re saying, “Wow, Wolfman, you really hated this movie!” However, that’s not entirely accurate. Some of the practical effects were highly effective, so some of the scenes of mayhem were genuinely entertaining. The tone and style of the film were very ambitious and frenetic, with lots of quick cuts, 16-bit sequences, and various other animations, reminiscent of Joseph Kahn’s work with Detention. Sadly, I didn’t love that film entirely, so a poor imitation didn’t really connect with me. For some, Game of Death might scratch a very specific itch that genre fans have, but I must have applied the salve that prevents that itch, as the overall unlikeability of the cast made a majority of the experience frustrating and unenjoyable.
Wolfman Moon Scale