Picks and Pans Review: Surviving the Game

UPDATED 05/02/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/02/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

Gary Busey, Charles Dutton, Rutger Hauer, Ice-T, John C. McGinley, William McNamara, F. Murray Abraham

In publicizing this film, Ice-T, who never met a microphone he didn't like, has been cheerfully trashing Sylvester Stallone, implying specifically that his action sequences are more dangerous than Sly's in Cliffhanger.

In his dreams.

In fact, Ice-T is the frailest of a chain of weak links that make this movie not only brutal and dumb but brutally dumb. Ice-T's gummy diction makes Stallone seem like a master of elocution; Ice-T is also the twerpiest of action heroes. A scene where he goes hand-to-hand with the burly Busey looks like a laughable mismatch.

T plays a homeless man in an unidentified city. He is duped into being the quarry for a group of outdoorsmen who like to hunt people. Director Ernest Dickerson has the thankless task of filling the rest of the movie with woodland chases and scuffles, most of them silly and listless. Writer Eric Bernt gave Dickerson a script filled mostly with obscenities. When he's really inspired, Bernt has someone say, "That's bleeping bleep!"

The only clever part of the plot has Abraham and McNamara, as father-and-son outdoorsmen, squabbling most of the time. Overall this movie is too reminiscent of Jean-Claude Van Damme's recent Hard Target, which made better use of the "Most Dangerous Game"-inspired story. (R)

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