Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Jurassic Games

Cast: Ryan Merriman, Perrey Reeves, and Adam Hampton

Director: Ryan Bellgardt

95 minutes (15) 2018
High Fliers DVD Region 2

Rating: 5/10
Review by Donald Morefield

A straightforward mash-up styled combination of Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games,
The Jurassic Games posits a chilling future where corporations create designer blitzes of mayhem to please insensate viewers inured to violence by shoot ‘em-ups. The varied ‘contestants’ are ten murderous convicts fighting for life and a freedom awarded only to the winner, the last one standing after surviving lethal zones, that include a maze and a minefield, of danger from rampaging dinosaurs and from each other. The game’s arenas are populated with some fiendish, but all virtual, monsters and yet if a player dies in the VR game he or she dies in actual reality from summary execution by poisonous injection.

The movie delivers ghastly televised impressions of the death-mongers in this dystopian media sensation, not to mention examples of a wholly distracted population enjoying and  laughing at, or fretting over alliances and betrayals, in this latest, sometimes charmingly off-beat bread ‘n’ circuses quasi-satirical version of an ever-popular gladiatorial scenario. Of course, the burgeoning subgenre of death-games and killer sports includes European sci-fi The 10th Victim (1965), classic actioner Rollerball (originally 1975, remade 2002), Schwarzenegger vehicle The Running Man (1987), Martin Campbell’s No Escape (1994), Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale (2000), and Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon (2001). For particular influences upon The Jurassic Games, there’s also The Condemned (2007), Gamer (2009), and Arena (2011), not to mention this movie’s key inspiration, the two genre blockbuster franchises that began with Jurassic Park (1993), and The Hunger Games (2012).

So, prepare to get your dino-movie fix with ragingly hysterical human prey versus T-Rex terrorism and raptor-mania. The Jurassic Games boasts much better than average visual effects and offers commentary interviews with the show-runners asking if there’s a moral defence for “execution as entertainment.” That said, there’s nothing here that’s seriously new, except a welcome degree of novelty in its concept, but it’s lively enough with action scenes, and its showbiz-must-go-on (despite hacker intervention) plot twists, to maintain the interest of keen genre fans before an inevitable ‘game over!’ finale.

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