Its 9:11 pm
I bought “Game of Death” from my local video store quite a while ago. It had been sitting in my “to watch” bin until one day I decided to watch it. I got about 25 minutes into it before it froze up in my bluray player. I tried to wipe it but it was a no go…I took it back and the video store buffed it for me but I ended putting it back in the bin.
It wasn’t until I was reviewing “Trauma Center” that I started to get a itch to watch “Game of Death” again and with that,the cheetah and I decided to give “Game Of Death” a proper viewing and hope it would play all the way through which it did.
The film opens in Detroit where we see a man sleeping in car. He wakes up and flashbacks start playing his head as he starts to remember his very busy day.
He gets out of the car and grabs a large duffel bag out of it and starts to slowly walk to a park where a bunch of young teens are playing basketball with a priest. After the game over,the kids surround Father Clarence (Ernie Hudson),its clear he is a good man and the kids love and respect him.
As he heads to his church,the stranger follows him slowly and both men enter the church a few minutes apart. Father Clarence welcomes the stranger and encourages to talk,even make a confession if need be.
Finally the stranger starts telling his story…..that the newspapers are right,he is a wanted man,a killer on the loose…..as we fade back to the beginning of the story.
The stranger is CIA officer Marcus Jones (Wesley Snipes) and he is meeting his station chief Dietrich at a park. Dietrich tells Marcus his new assignment,he is to get close to arms dealer Frank Smith (Robert Davi) who is being paid by company named Redvale to ferment a “rebellion” againt a government who is refusing to deal with Redvale. They want to catch Smith redhanded with receiving payments from the CEO of Redvale.
Six months later,Marcus has penetrated Smith’s inner circle and has become his personal bodyguard. It also the time that Smith and Redvale are meeting in Detroit for a big arms deal. Dietrich,along with Marcus’s team Floria (Zoe Bell) and Zander (Gary Daniels) are there for backup. They have about 12 other officers on the ground to assist Marcus.
Smith’s plane lands and Marcus,Smith and a driver start towards Redvale but suddenly Smith has a heart attack and needs to a hospital right away. As Dietrich starts to issue new orders from a chopper,he is brutally killed by Floria,she and Zander have taken over the mission….which is to steal 100 million that Smith is scheduled to get from Redvale.
But Smith’s heart attack has thrown their plans into the wind,they need Smith alive in order to get the cash. Zander and Floria’s team all head to the hospital.
Meanwhile,Marcus is very concerned for Smith as well,not because he cares for him but for the missed chance to bust him. With Smith in the ER and possibly dying,this would setback the CIA months if not years. Rachel (Aunjanue Ellis),the doctor treating Smith comes out to tell Marcus what is happening when Marcus gets shaky,he is diabetic and needs some juice. Rachel has a nurse take care of Marcus and goes back to the ER.
By now Zander’s team are in the hospital and are killing people,a call goes out the Detroit Police but Zander makes a call to bought off captain who squashes the response,saying its a “national security matter” and is handled.
When one of the team kills the nurse treating Marcus,he knows shit has hit the fan and he reacts quickly. He starts taking out his own team by hand to hand combat and gunplay,he is trying to reach Smith whom Zander now has at gunpoint in the ER room.
He wants Smith but has to convince him that unless she treats Smith’s heart,he’ll never leave the table. He gives her 30 minutes to stablize him.
Marcus and Floria run into each other and have a running gunfight while she tries to coax Marcus into joining Zander and her.
Marcus escapes but after a brutal fight with a minion,Floria captures him and brings him to Zander. Zander by now is shown to be a heartless and brutal killer,he has killed many people without a second thought and when he gets Marcus in his sights….how does Marcus escape to be able to tell his story to Father Clarence? Well,if you want to know the answer to that,you’re going to have to find this movie and watch it!!
But did the cheetah and I like “Game of Death”? Hell yeah we did!!! This is a fun but very violent movie. This has all the elements that “Trauma Center” could have had if they had but one thing……a main star who CARES.
Wesley Snipes is an amazing actor and yeah,I know he has had his problems with the IRS and not playing nice with directors and producers. It has severely impacted his career,no doubt about it and I think Wesley himself would admit that. But one that Wesley still has is that he cares about material he is putting up on the screen. He works hard and is never phoning it in.
In “Game of Death”,director Gorgio Serafini is blessed with a very strong cast….Snipes plus one of our BIG favorites,the mighty Zoe Bell who looks amazing in this film. Of course since she is evil in this,we had to go “boooooooo” and “pffffft” and throw popcorn at her but Zoe,you still rock us like a hurricane! Her Floria has the best kill in the movie so you know that Zoe is still a bad ass!!
This was our first Gary Daniels movie and his Zander is one of the most cold-hearted bastards we have ever reviewed,I doubt even Jason or Simon Phoenix would want to cross paths with him. He made a for a great bad guy and his fight scene with Snipes is real quality. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Danel’s work.
Ellis played a great doctor,Robert Davi,always is solid but the scene stealer in “Game of Death” was Quinn Duffy who plays Redvale,he was ballsy and fearless and he wasn’t afraid to mix it up,even against some seriously bad odds. When I checked Duffy’s IMDb page,it showed that Duffy went silent until popping up in the Oscar winning film “Green Book”. That is a real shame because Duffy is a real talented actor.
Of course it isn’t a perfect film,one major error is making Jones a CIA officer,the CIA is not allowed to run ops in the United States,its against the law. It would have been better to have made him a DEA or FBI. Also,CIA offciers are not “agents”,they are called “officers”.
All in all,this is a good movie to pull out if you have friends who love good action-adventure films with good performances. The cheetah and I both gave “Game of Death” a thumbs/two paws up!!
“Game of Death” has a run time of 82 minutes and is rated “R”.