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Surviving the Game

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rutger Hauer, Ice-T, Charles S. Dutton, Gary Busey, F. Murray Abraham
  • Directors: Ernest R. Dickerson
  • Writers: Eric Bernt
  • Producers: David Permut, Fred C. Caruso, Kevin J. Messick
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 1999
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000031EG1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,489 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Surviving the Game" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A homeless man, recruited as a guide by a band of wealthy hunters, winds up the hunted instead. Starring Ice-T, Rutger Hauer and Gary Busey.


One more time around for the storyline of The Most Dangerous Game, except this one's refitted with explosions, big guns, and a flood of testosterone. Ice-T plays Mason, a homeless man shanghaied from the streets of Los Angeles to work as a guide and all-around man Friday for a hunting party. What the down-on-his-luck fellow soon finds out is that he is the quarry, and has to rely on his own resourcefulness to stay one step ahead of his tormentors. Laden with atrocious dialogue and narrative implausibilities, this is still a fun action movie if seen only for its own merits and nothing more. The fine cast (Gary Busey, Charles Dutton, F. Murray Abraham, John C. McGinley) chews the script until practically frothing at the mouth while trying to out-maniac each other. Busey is the head macho lunatic, but the twitchy McGinley nearly steals the show as he turns the knob on the weirdo meter up to eleven, then breaks it off and throws it away. Ice-T, on the other hand, puts his coping skills to the test as the hapless human prey. Most of director Ernest R. Dickerson's resumé has consisted of cinematography work (for Spike Lee, among others), and it shows with the film's competent, almost glossy look. Don't watch Surviving the Game expecting any great statements or overarching agendas, and you'll be surprised by an untentionally goofy action picture with preposterous situations and wide-open-throttle performances. Plus, chances are you've never seen a foot-wide pine tree chopped down with a shotgun (we kid you not). --Jerry Renshaw

Customer Reviews

Movie has great cast of actors.
Christopher P. Dindy
Now i Watch i over and over again an it is still the action packed movie that it was the fist time i saw it!
Chris Cillo
Not a bad entry in this kind of film, but we needed something a little stronger than ice t for this one!!!
Michael Butts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Colin Paterson on August 27, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is worth seeing for Ice T alone. He's brilliant. As an actor, he's not technically skilled...but he definitely gets himself into his role and does a lot more with his natural ability than many actors could do after years and years of training. As a modern day adaptation of "The Most Dangerous Game" (which is a truly phenomenal film -- if you watched this one, you should check that earlier film out -- you will be amazed for several reasons), this film shoots itself in the foot by giving the "game" away in the opening titles. But it makes up for that by developing the story of the central character played by Ice T and using that character as a more deeply imagined hero. As Mason, a way down and out homeless man, Ice T is very convincing. He seems to have been driven nearly wild even as the film opens...living on the streets surviving like an animal. Willing to stop at little or nothing to stay alive. But then life turns dramatically sour even for Mason and he wants a way out. Ready to kill himself, he is pulled back from the brink and offered a chance to get on his feet. Mason is a fighter and he accepts the offer. Grudgingly...but with the appreciation that this could be his only chance. He is then brought to a wilderness cabin thinking he will act as a hunting guide. The crew of actors who play the hunting group are amazing -- all of them have made careers out of being wonderful sociopaths. And at times, things get a little hammy but director Ernest Dickerson -- making a very interesting choice of projects here -- keeps things from going too far over the top. In no time at all, the hunt is on and Mason realizes what his role is in it. He must survive the challenge using his wits and his will.Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ray on September 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie may not win any awards, but if you want to see a decent action-thriller movie, this is one to consider. I liked the twist it had and there was some good acting by Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey, and John McGinley. Depending on your personality, it can be an edge-of-your-seat thriller, or predictable "bad guys vs. singular good guy". But, overall, I liked it. (What does that say of my personality?)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on May 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is a moderately suspenseful action film with a stellar cast, some breathtaking mountain cinematography and a great musical score. In terms of dramatic tension and scripting, it is by no means in the same league as the likes of "Deliverance", "Southern Comfort", or even John Woo's more stylish rendering of virtually the same theme, "Hard Target", with Jean-Claude Van Damme. I do feel, however, that critics and audiences alike have been too severe in dismissing it, since it is a tale that affords plenty of entertainment and amusement.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Inspector Gadget on December 12, 1999
Format: DVD
Surviving the Game came traipsing in a year after Jean-Claude Van Damme's much more popular Hard Target. Both films featured down-on-their-luck men being used as human prey for rich. bloodthirsty psycho's desperate for the thrill of the kill. Ice-T is a good actor, but not in this film he ain't. Though he still out-performs JCVD as the man on the lam.

T plays Jack Mason, a Seattle hobo plucked from the streets and given a job in the wilderness. Without asking any serious questions or growing suspicious he sheepishly accepts the offer. Upon arriving at a remote forest cabin (actually Lake Wenatchee Airport, if you don't mind me spoiling the magic) he meets a bunch of wealthy weirdos and is well fed and watered. When he wakes the next morning Mason discovers that his job is to run as fast as he can back to civilization.

Director Earnest Dickerson has no control over his cast and allows them to overact to ludicrous degrees. F. Murray Abraham, Oscar or no Oscar, has no idea what he's doing. Gary Busey turns up, goes mental, and then exits (a stupid mistake as he's the most interesting character). John C. McGinley goes over the edge with the minimal of back-story, which only just starts getting interesting before he too exits. It's like they actually wanted to strip the film of any engaging substance.

They try to inject some kind of subtext with the character names. Mason is the everyday working man. He is hunted by men called Hawkins, Griffin, Mr. Wolf and Wolf Jnr. He is employed by men called Cole and Burns, and taken to a place called Hell's Canyon. If writer Eric Bernt was trying to be clever it's lost in the bumbling incompetence that cripples the action scenes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elite14 on January 19, 2004
Format: DVD
I have always liked this movie. I think it's interesting, fun & it's got some really good actors in it. I would never pay more than $10 for it, and now I get it for $6.99 and for that reason, it is in my collection.
Once again we have a movie where some hunters hunt down a human instead of an animal. A bum that lives on the streets named Mason (Ice T) gets approached by a man (Charles S. Dutton) who works at a shelter about a possible job opportunity. The job is being a hunting guide for a group of hunters. The leader of the hunters is Rutger Hauer, who is once again playing the bad guy. Mason is led to believe this is just a job. He is then led to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and everyone sits down to dinner. They drink a bit, converse and you get to meet the characters. Mason soon learns, however, that he is the prey. He wakes up in the morning to Dutton holding a pistol in his face and Hauer explaining what the game is.
The game is that the hunters (Hauer, Dutton, Gary Busey, & F. Murray Abraham, John C. McGinley, & William McNamara) will eat a leasurely breakfast while Mason can run for his life. After breakfast, the hunters will then go hunt their prey.
It's kind of an interesting plotline. I know it's been done over and over in movies, but the characters are what makes this movie fun. Each one has their own personality. Hauer plays the cool bad guy. Dutton plays off him very well and tricks Ice T. Busey plays the insane role better than anyone. McGinley makes a good, big Texan. And Abraham & McNamara play a good psycho-father, good-son combo. The Ice T character is really hurt by the fact that Ice T can't act his way out of a paper sack. He has never been a good actor. He never will be a good actor.
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