The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 4.14.14 Issue #302: Game of Death (2010)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 04.14.2014
A look at the 2010 Wesley Snipes action flick Game of Death, a special commentary on the Ultimate Warrior, a new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #302: Game of Death (2010)
Action April: Week 2
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that doesn't know anyone named Reginald, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue three hundred and two, Action April continues with a look at the low budget action flick from 2010, Game of Death, starring the great Wesley Snipes.
Game of Death (2010)
Game of Death, directed by Giorgio Serafini, is one of Wesley Snipes' better low budget direct-to-video efforts. It's got plenty of action and fighting in it and, while it doesn't feature an original or even unique story, it's fairly easy to understand and doesn't leave you completely confused when it's over. That, for me, is always a plus when it comes to any kind of movie, action flick or some other genre.
Snipes stars as Marcus, a badass CIA agent who loves his job and his country. While on a job in Detroit protecting a major international arms dealer (Frank Smith, played by the great Robert Davi), Marcus is double crossed by two of his fellow CIA agents, Floria (Zoe Bell) and Zander (Gary Daniels). After killing Marcus' mentor and boss Dietrich (Michael Maurice), Zander and Floria try to kidnap Smith on the street by attacking Smith's convoy. Marcus manages to get Smith out of danger and to a local hospital (right in the middle of the big street assault and subsequent car chase Smith has a heart attack). Marcus has no idea that Zander and Floria are after him at this point in the story; he's just confused about the attack. He knows that Smith is a wanted man around the world and that his protection detail is all part of a big CIA plan to bring Smith and his major hedge fund partner Redvale (Quinn Duffy) to justice, but who the hell would want to try to take him out in Detroit? It doesn't take Marcus long to find out what the heck is really going on?
Zander and Floria, disgruntled CIA agents who no longer believe in their mission to protect America, descend on the hospital and start killing doctors and security guards almost immediately. They want to take over the hospital, remove Smith from the building, and take him to Redvale's headquarters in downtown Detroit so they can steal $100 million in cash. Smith's doctor, Rachel (Aunjanue Ellis), refuses to follow Zander's orders, eventhough he has a gun to her head and has killed several of her fellow hospital employees right in front of her. Her only concern is Smith's well being. He is her patient and she knows that if Zander and his people move Smith before she finishes implanting an emergency heart stent he will die. Rachel manages to convince Zander to let her complete Smith's heart procedure, but she has no idea what will happen to her after that. Will this heavily armed thug kill her? Will they kill her surgical assistants?
While all of that is going on, Floria runs around the hospital trying to find Marcus. Marcus, outgunned and outnumbered, does his best to stay away from Floria and her goons and manages to stay ahead of them all. Floria tries to get Marcus to stand down and join up with their cause but, as you'd expect from a man with serious integrity, Marcus tells her that he doesn't want anything to do with her or Zander. He's a man of integrity, dammit!
The rest of the movie plays out pretty much like you'd expect it to, with Zander and Floria taking Smith to his big meeting with Redvale and Marcus waging a one man war to take them all out. The movie doesn't rev up towards the end, though. Amazingly, the movie remains steady until it's over, a strategy that actually works. I really thought that the movie would shift into high gear once Zander and Floria move Smith out of the hospital as that's what these kinds of action movies tend to do. I'm guessing that the steady pace is created by the movie's flashback structure. See, the first time we meet Marcus he's following a priest played by the immortal Ernie Hudson, hoping to talk to the religious man and "confess his sins." Hudson's Father Clarence allows Marcus to tell him whatever he needs to tell him; after all, it's his job to listen to people explain themselves. These scenes are a bit of a letdown as they're not very energetic and you never get the sense that Marcus is actually struggling with anything internally. He says he's having issues but you don't really believe any of it.
The action scenes are all excellent. The car chase is one of the best direct-to-video car chases I've ever seen. The gun battles are all decent, and the martial arts beat downs that Snipes gives out are all brutal and awesome. The final fight between Marcus and Zander could have played out a little longer, but it's still good stuff regardless of its truncated nature (what's with all of the front and side kicks, Gary? Why the hell aren't you jumping in the air and doing one of those flying fist things?). The only letdown here is with Bell as she doesn't get much to do stunt wise. Granted, she's an actor in this movie, not a stunt person, but it would have been cool if she got to do something mind blowing, like an insane free fall from a helicopter or some kind of stunt where she dives through a bunch of glass windows. She does get to execute a nifty knife stunt, though, so at least she has that (she throws the knife through a narrow opening in a metal bar door and right into a guy's back).
Snipes does a great job as Marcus. He isn't phoning anything in and seems really engaged in what's going on. The confession scenes with Hudson aren't great, but Snipes get to kick major ass in the hospital, so that's awesome. I would like to know, though, why his character is diabetic as the movie never really does anything with it. His blood sugar goes down after taking Smith to the hospital and he's given some insulin by a nurse and then the movie never mentions it again. Why not have his blood sugar go down in the final fight just to add a little suspense to what's going on?
Bell, despite the lack of a big stunt, does a good job as Floria. She gets to kick some ass and does a decent American accent, something I didn't expect since Daniels isn't forced to alter his British accent. Good job, Zoe. Aunjanue Ellis is okay as Rachel, Smith's doctor. She doesn't get much to do beyond openly worry about Smith, but then she's the kind of doctor you'd want to have working on you if you had a heart attack in the middle of a massive gun fight and car chase. So, yeah, good job Aunjanue.
Gary Daniels is amazing as Zander. Zander is a sadistic bastard for most of the movie as he doesn't leave anyone alive (he has a thing about killing security guards) but he isn't a complete monster. There's a scene where he doesn't shoot Marcus dead although he no doubt should have. He hates Marcus for the most part at that point in the movie, but he can't just shoot an old friend and comrade in arms in cold blood. It's a moment that will stick with you after the movie is over. Great stuff.
Robert Davi, as expected, rocks as Frank Smith. He spends most of his time either in a hospital bed having a heart attack or in a wheelchair trying not to have a heart attack, sure, but he still kicks ass doing it. He's also incredibly smooth on his private plane attacking Wall Street bankers and the government. And Quinn Duffy is hilarious as Revdale the hedge fund guy. He's a total douchebag but he can't stand it when Zander shoots his people dead right in front of him. How often do you see that in a major movie villain?
Game of Death is a great direct-to-video action flick. It has a great cast, great action scenes, and a nifty, worthwhile story. More often than not that's all you really need to have a good movie. Good job, everyone. Good job.
See Game of Death. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 25+
Doobage: Young people playing basketball, Bluetooth douchebaggery, a private plane moving in fast motion, throat slitting, a heart attack, a massive car chase and street attack, bullet to the head, multiple dead security guards, insulin, bullet to the back, multiple instances of kung fu and karate, multiple horrendous neck snaps including a reverse neck breaker, silenced handgun hooey, psych ward hooey, wrist breaking, face kicking, a gun fight, metal rolling cart used as armor, fire extinguisher ricochet to the face, multiple black and white flashbacks, a meeting, ambulance stealing, secretary killing, knife thrown through door of metal bars, a rooftop kung fu fight, an unplanned split, serious arm breaking, a vicious neck snap, a major air ball, and a strange ending.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Detroit, a helicopter, Jesus on the Cross, Wesley Snipes, Ernie Hudson as a priest, Robert Davi, Zoe Bell using an American accent, Robert Davi having a heart attack, silenced handgun hooey, psych ward hooey, shooting a nurse for no reason, multiple black and white flashbacks, ambulance stealing, serious arm breaking, and Wesley Snipes smiling in slow motion.
Best lines: "No, father, I'm far away from redemption," "Jane, what's happening?," "So what do you do for a living? I protect very important people," "I dreamed you! I dreamed you and now you're real!," "One hundred million dollars, Marcus! Come on!," "You know, when this is over, I'm going to kill you," "Oh, honey, you're coming with us, so pack your shit," "Do you regret your life, son?," "No! You want him to live, right?," "John, let's just finish... this deal," "That wasn't necessary!," "What the fuck is wrong with you? Fucking asshole!," "Fucking A! Fucking A indeed!," and "Go with God, my son."
Next week: Action April continues with Excessive Force (1993)!
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And please check out my interview with director Brett A. Hart about the Ain't It Cool internet show and more!
Mickey Rooney 1920-2014 RIP
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
- The Visitant: I saw most of this movie last year at Scare-A-Con (check out my mini-review of that movie plus everything else I saw at Scare-A-Con here) and I liked what I saw, which is weird for me because I usually find "ghost" movies to be boring and full of shit. The Visitant, though, is different. You have to see it. It's worth checking out.
- Camp Dread: Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris both appear in this sort of send up of the slasher genre, cult celebrity, and reality TV. It also looks incredibly messed up, which is always a plus when it comes to low budget horror movies. Easily rentable.
- Ride Along: I missed this buddy action comedy when it was in theatres. It didn't get great reviews, but the movie going public showed up in droves and now it's a franchise. Does it warrant a franchise? I'll have to see it, I guess, to, well, see. The trailers were funny.
- Anger Management Vol. 3: This Charlie Sheen starring sitcom is pretty funny most of the time. It isn't a ground breaking sitcom or anything like that, but it's not a terrible way to waste a half hour of your life. It's also probably not a bad show to binge watch, either.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
Special Commentary: The Ultimate Warrior
I managed to see the Ultimate Warrior wrestle live twice in three matches. The first time was during a marathon TV taping for, I believe, WWF Superstars, where the Warrior wrestled two jobbers. At the time I had no idea that the Dingo Warrior, who I had only seen on World Class on ESPN, was even in the WWF. My brother and I were shocked that we were seeing the Dingo Warrior in person. The second time I saw the Warrior was during his 1996 WWF run. He was facing Vader in the main event of the card. I was psyched for the show, mostly because I was finally going to see Vader in person. I knew he wouldn't win the match against the Warrior, but I figured it was going to be cool anyway. The Ultimate Warrior vs. Vader? A definite dream match.
The match lasted about twenty seconds. And if you add in the time it took for Vader to get to the ring, for the Warrior to get to the ring, and the post-match Ultimate Warrior celebration, the Ultimate Warrior/Vader confrontation lasted about three minutes or a little less than that. Was it worth the money? Nope. I was pissed. Where was the Vader bomb? The attempt at a Warrior press slam? I don't think I even saw a goddamn Warrior clothesline or a Vader shoulder block. Again, I was pissed.
His WCW run was lame. It was obvious from the beginning that the whole reason for the return of the Warrior to wrestling in general was so Hulk Hogan could beat him. And what the hell was the deal with turning Brutus Beefcake's The Disciple into a member of the One Warrior Nation? That was meant to be a big thing but is just wasn't.
The Warrior's comic book, which lasted only a few issues (Four? Maybe five?), was an incomprehensible mess. It was "deep" and "philosophical" but it just didn't make any sense. I still have no idea what the hell "Destrucity" is (and I've been to the Warrior's website and tried to figure it out. I'm still dumbfounded by the whole thing). And his moments of political commentary were just... disturbing. Not so much because Warrior was an ultra right wing conservative, but mostly because it all seemed out of character. In short, the politics stuff didn't come off as "positive."
And then there was last Monday night and the Warrior's now final speech before a live crowd. It has become a sort of foreshadowing of what would eventually happen only one day later. Did the Warrior know he was in trouble? Did he know he was going to be gone in a few days? I have no idea. No one close to the Warrior, as far as I know, has said that he was in bad health, that he knew that he only had a little time left on Earth. I guess, in retrospect, it seems as though he knew something was up. But then, when you look at the Warrior's old interviews and promos and whatnot, what became his last speech sounded pretty much like every other Warrior promo. It was just the Ultimate Warrior being the Ultimate Warrior. The thing that I noticed was how beaten down he seemed. Why was he hobbling to the ring? Why did he seem so physically out of it? Did he have a double hip replacement or something? Did his knees finally give way on him?
The Ultimate Warrior was an exciting wrestler. Even when he pissed me off in 1996 it was still exciting to see him in the ring. I'll never forget his match with Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. I can remember being shocked that he defeated Hulk Hogan, cleanly, in the middle of the ring. There was no outside interference, no paid off referee or any of that kind of thing. Hogan missed his big leg drop, the Warrior splashed him, and that was it. The Ultimate Warrior was the new WWF World Champion.
And then there was Wrestlemania VII, where the Warrior faced "Macho Man" Randy Savage in a career vs. career match. The Warrior walked to the ring instead of running like a maniac and managed to defeat Savage in what would turn out to be, at least to me, the Warrior's greatest in-ring performance. It was all just so different. And it worked.
That's what I'll ultimately remember about the Ultimate Warrior. That match. And the match against Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. The run in at the end of Wrestlemania VIII was exciting, too, although for years I thought that was Kerry Von Erich playing the Ultimate Warrior at the end (it was the hair). Was I the only one who thought that?
I can't say that I'll necessarily miss the Ultimate Warrior. He had been out of wrestling for years before he died and it didn't look like he was going to be much of a presence anyway despite his Hall of Fame induction. He had been a guy from the past who, in a way, still mattered because he was a big star. And that's what he'll continue to be for the rest of time. A guy from the past. So, ultimately, The Ultimate Warrior may be dead but he's not necessarily gone. He'll live on as a man from the past. An exciting pro wrestler. A force of nature in the ring.
The music will live on, too. When you think of the Warrior, think of the music above. It may make you want to run to wherever you're going to next.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Zoe Bell
What's Going On Here?: Quentin Tarantino Liked It!
I recently saw a commercial for a movie airing on the new El Rey Network where, towards the end of the commercial, the announcer says that the movie in question is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite movies. I can't remember what the actual advertised movie's title was (I want to say it was Detroit 9000 but it could have been something else) but I couldn't figure out why I needed to know that. And then I remembered there have been plenty of movies, on TV and on DVD, that have been advertised as a "Quentin Tarantino favorite." Why do I need to know this? Has anyone ever purchased a movie because it was advertised as a Tarantino favorite?
I mean, if Tarantino produced something and the distributors want to put his name on the advertising, fine. I get that. But why put his name on something he had nothing to do with? Again, are there people out there buying movies because he liked them? I can say that I have never purchased a movie because Tarantino liked it. I've never watched one because he liked it, either. I've looked at movies recommended by friends and assorted movie critics, like Joe Bob Briggs and even Roger Ebert. But a movie director? Not so much, at least not in terms of the movie being advertised as a favorite of so and so.
Am I missing something here? Am I just not cool enough to get what the draw is? Can someone please explain this thing to me?
John Pinette 1964- 2014 RIP
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
- Dead Sea: This looks to be a sort of low budget knock-off of the Piranha remake that came out a few years ago. Sort of. It's a monster movie. That's what's most important here.
- Legend of the Red Reaper: Low budget fantasy movies are usually pretty decent or absolutely horrendous. Legend of the Red Reaper doesn't look terrible, so that makes it worth renting. I mean, if it is terrible and you only rent it you can always take it back. You have to look at it that way.
- Cold Blooded: This low budget Canadian thriller has received great reviews and, well, looks fabulous. Hopefully the movie lives up to its reputation because, as I've said many times before, the world doesn't need another terrible low budget thriller. Anyone out there see this? Is it as good as it seems? Does it deserve its reputation?
- Confine: A low budget British thriller that also looks kind of messed up? Why the hell wouldn't I want to see it?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to Vance McAllister, Republican Congressperson from Louisiana, for campaigning for office as a "pro-Christian family man," winning office, and then being caught on video screwing around with a female staffer. While it's true that McAllister isn't the first politician to be caught messing around with a staffer and breaking his marriage vows, the whole uber religious/pious conservative thing is what makes this whole thing stink to high heaven. How do these pious motherfuckers keep getting away with it? It's also hilarious how just about every Republican in Louisiana and in Congress has called for McAllister to resign. Is this deep need to get rid of him all about the violation of his marriage vows or that a part of the affair is on video? I mean, what are they all really worried about? Do they think voters will refuse to support him? Did anyone actually abandon David Vitter after it was revealed that he banged prostitutes? Did anyone stop buying Newt Gingrich's books after it was revealed he was a cheating piece of garbage?
And then there's former Arkansas Republican Governor, Fox News host, and all around ultra right wing Christian psychopath Mike Huckabee, for claiming that he isn't a raging homophobe because he's just following the Bible. While attacking President Obama's altered stance on gay marriage, Huckabee wanted everyone to know that he isn't a bigot or a homophobe and that he's just following the Bible. And we all know what the Bible says about homosexuals.
So, if the Bible is against homosexuals and you're a strident believer in the word of God, how are you not a homophobe? Don't you have to be a homophobe in order to be a Christian? Isn't that what Huckabee and his followers/supporters really, truly believe?
Well, yeah, it is. So why not own what you believe, Mike? Why engage in this outright obfuscation of what you really hold dear? What the hell is going on here?
And finally there's the ultra right wing media machine, for losing its mind over the announcement that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman in 2015 as host of The Late Show. Douchebag Hall of Famer and drug addict Rush Limbaugh and the New York Post's Kyle Smith are just two of the many right wing loons who have gone batshit over this announcement. It's an attack on middle America, the Midwest, and maybe even Jesus, and it will be the end of CBS because Republicans and conservatives won't watch the show anymore.
Do these fucking people really think CBS would allow Colbert to be the obnoxious lunatic he portrays on Comedy Central while hosting its main late night program? And do these fucking people not understand that the reason Colbert was picked was because "young people" know who the fuck he is and it thinks Colbert can generate a sizeable young people audience? Did the URWMM think that Dennis Miller or that unfunny prick on Fox News, Greg Gutfeld, were in the running or something?
I'm personally not a fan of the Colbert decision (I would have rather seen Craig Ferguson promoted to The Late Show, just to see what he would do with it), but the Machine needs to calm the fuck down and get a grip. In 2015 The Late Show will look like the current Tonight Show or Jimmy Kimmel's ABC show.
Can you imagine what we would be going through right now if Jon Stewart had been given the show? Fox News would have to create a third channel just to complain about it.
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
The NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Saturday night was a bit of a bore, as Kevin Harvick dominated the night, rocketing off from the pole and never looking back. Dale Earnhardt, Jr tried valiantly to hold on to the lead, but Harvick was just too good and Earnhardt ended up second, his best career finish at Darlington. Jimmie Johnson was third, and Matt Kenseth was fourth.
Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson had a great night, holding his own for most of the night, passing cars and finishing eighth. And Jeff Gordon had an okay night, finishing in the top ten (he needs to win a race this year. He's close, but his team is missing something). And A.J. Allmendinger, who finished 15th, had the moment of the night when he called Austin Dillon a "rich punk" over his team radio after they got together on the track. Dillon ended up 11th. And Ryan Newman had a good night finishing 10th.
Harvick's second win of the season makes him the first full on Chase driver under the new Chase for the Sprint Cup rules. It'll be interesting to see if Harvick pushes himself to rack up more wins or if he'll try to focus more on overall performance for his team. Wins are a bigger deal now under the new rules, but you still have to have a general consistency so you can run up front. Harvick hasn't had much luck finishing in the top ten consistently this season. Perhaps his new Stewart-Haas Racing team will work on that going forward? Do you think that will happen?
I didn't see the Nationwide race on Friday night, but apparently it was another good race. Chase Elliott picked up his second straight win, holding off Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and Elliott Sadler for the victory. Man, I really need to make an effort to see these damn Nationwide races. I've missed far too many of them.
NASCAR goes dark this coming weekend but returns to the track in two weeks with races at Richmond International Raceway. Both the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series will race, with Nationwide racing Friday night and Sprint Cup racing on Saturday night. The Camping World Truck Series doesn't race again until goddamn May at Charlotte. What the heck is the deal with that schedule?
Over in Indycar, part time driver and admitted gutless weenie Mike Conway picked up his third career victory and first street course win for car owner Ed Carpenter by finishing first at the Long Beach Grand Prix street race. I really thought that Ryan Hunter-Reay was going to win the race as he led just about every lap right up until the mid-point and looked unbeatable all over the track. But then Hunter-Reay inexplicably dive bombed Josef Newgarden going into a corner and caused a multi-car accident that took out several contenders. Hunter-Reay's car owner Michael Andretti should have exploded in the pits after that move (he looked like he was about to during his interview in the pits after the wreck) and Newgarden's car owner Sarah Fisher should have flipped out on Hunter-Reay after the race. I mean, why the hell would anyone try to make a move like that in a goddamn corner on a narrow track like Long Beach? Hunter-Reay should have known better. Champions don't do that kind of shit.
Scott Dixon looked like he was finally going to win at Long Beach but he ran out of gas with three laps to go. Will Power finished second (why the hell didn't get penalized for that contact with Simon Pagenaud?). And Carlos Munoz finished third, his best finish on a road/street course in a full Indycar. And Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth. Based on what the NBC Sports Network announcers said, Montoya had issues at St. Pete because he hadn't raced in the rain in several years and he wasn't used to the whole red/black tire thing. He didn't have those problems at Long Beach as it was sunny the whole weekend. It'll be interesting to see how he does at Barber, the next race on the schedule and the first real road course of the year.
Rookie driver Mikhail Aleshin finished seventh (he was actually passing people on the track), and Oriol Servia, in his first race of the season for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, finished eighth. Servia's teammate, Graham Rahal, started last, attempted to engage in some "off sequence" pit strategy, took out several cars on his way to the front, and managed to finish 13th. Why the hell wasn't he black flagged?
Sebastien Bourdais had a terrible day, wrecking while running up front and then going several laps down before finishing a disappointing 14th. And Takuma Sato, who won Long Beach in 2013, had a terrible day, too, wrecking early and finishing 22nd.
The standing start went off without a hitch as there wasn't a huge pile up going into the first corner. I still prefer an orderly flying start, but then I guess I'm old fashioned like that. And I still don't understand why Long Beach can't have double file restarts. The track may be narrow but it can be done if race control actually controls the goddamn start.
The Indy Lights race was a disgrace. I don't even remember who won. The race had twelve cars, which I guess is how many cars the series will have for every race except Indy (the series may have 14 cars for that race. Maybe). I like the series in general but it really has to find more teams. 12 cars on an oval like Iowa or a road course like Barber is just terrible. Does the series really think that the new car next year is going to generate more interest and more teams?
Indycar is off next week, too, but returns in two weeks at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. The race will be on Sunday afternoon on the NBC Sports Network. Only a month or so until Indy. I can't wait for that.
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
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Game of Death
Wesley Snipes- Marcus Gary Daniels- Zander Zoe Bell- Floria Aunjanue Ellis- Rachel Ernie Hudson- Father Clarence Quinn Duffy- John Redvale Robert Davi- Frank Smith Michael Maurice- Dietrich
Directed by Giorgio Serafini Screenplay by Jim Agnew and Megan Brown
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated R for violence and language Runtime- 98 minutes