The Game (1988)

 The Game
(1988)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Cole McKay

Starring: Craig Alan, Joesph Campanella, Sunni McCullough, Darwyn Swalve, and Robert Elliott

"My son, Kane, is my son." - Mr. Schekel

When a cabal of ultra-wealthy baddies convene in a secret location to play THE GAME, what that really means is that they each have teams of killers who go out and hunt specially-chosen "derelicts". What this cabal didn't count on, however, is the toughness of Kane (Alan), a badass of mighty proportions. Kane's father, a government agent going by the name of Mr. Schekel (Campanella), infiltrates The Game in order to exfiltrate his son. So while Kane, and fellow prey Luna (McCullough) and Stubby (Swalve) are fighting for their lives in the field of combat, Schekel is back at the base, having to contend with Col. Podak (Elliott), the Game Master, and the other evil Game-players. Who will win THE GAME?

Not to be confused with the Michael Douglas film of the same name, or any other movies out there called The Game, THIS The Game takes the "hunted for sport by a cabal" sub-sub-sub-subgenre typified by the likes of Death Chase (1988), Fugitive X: Innocent Target (1996), and later entries such as The Tournament (2009) and The Condemned (2007), and puts a nice 1988 spin on it. Add that to the fact that there are both ninjas n' Nazis (NNN), and The Price Is Right-style game show models. They are named Sherry and Dawn, by the by, and they're played by Casadei and Gava respectively.  A tone of wackiness ensues. Oh, and the ninjas have machine guns.

While there is a surprising amount of setup before the mayhem ensues, the fact that The Game was directed by Cole McKay, the longtime stuntman we all know and love, ensures that stunts, shooting, blow-ups, swordfights, exploding helicopters (no matter the source of which), and other action-oriented material is soon to follow. While not an AIP film, it has a definite AIP feel, akin to the likes of Invasion Force (1990) or Mankillers (1987), the latter of which also featured Craig Alan.

While we love "assemble a team" sequences in movies, here we have "assemble the derelicts" where we see how The Game people pick their, to quote the aforementioned Fugitive X, "Innocent Targets". Why someone would pay ten million dollars just to have commandos shoot at them must show just how evil these people are.

Finished off by the classic 80's electric guitar-based soundtrack and some un-PC dialogue, there's plenty to enjoy with The Game.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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