Most Dangerous Game Review (2022)
The Most Dangerous Game was directed and written by Justin Lee (Hellblazers, Hunters), who adapts his screenplay from the short story of the same name by Richard Connell, and stars Chris ‘CT’ Tamburello (Habitual), Casper Van Dien (Assailant , The 2nd), Elissa Dowling (Slice and Dice, The Electric Man), Judd Nelson (A Tale of Two Guns, Relentless), Randy Charach (Zombie Tidal Wave, Beyond the Law), Tom Berenger (Sniper, Eye See You) , and Bruce Dern (Mid-Century, Last Shoot Out). It’s about a castaway father and son who fight to survive being preyed upon by a big game hunter looking for a new thrill.
The parcel: Sometimes it is reworked, other times its appearance is due to influence; the ubiquitous short story of man chasing man is no stranger to screens. However, direct adaptations of the literary classic are much less common, which makes this release a bit different but no less predictable.
While cruising to the Kodiak Archipelago to hunt the local brown bear, sportsmen Sanger (Tamburello), Marcus (Nelson) and Rex (Charach), along with a friend Whit (Dern) are pulled to their island destination via a sinking leaving the trappers stranded and Whit dead. See you later Dern, thanks for the 8 minutes of screen time. Heading towards the sound of gunfire, the three men encounter Von Wolf (Van Dien), who they discover does not have the best of intentions. Audiences, on the other hand, will have already known this from countless interpretations of the premise.
Going long back and forth on the nature of the hunt, Von Wolf “offers” a jaunt out of the sport and won’t take no for an answer, as seen in his execution of Rex for trying to disengage. Other than adding these alien characters for exposition and others like Mary (Dowling) and Benjamin (Berenger) for Sanger to attend, the deviations from the novella are minor. It makes sense to stay close to the source material in a direct adaptation, keeping the film focused on Sanger’s survival, but the news was just that; this movie doesn’t fill in the gaps with anything meaningful, making it an acceptable but generic offering
Characters:Given the ability to develop characters from the original story properly, Lee instead shuffles details and identities for largely semantic differences, trying to find something to say about post-war life, but his script doesn’t get much out of the idea and leaves the characters dry in the process.
Deciding to shoot the film sometime after World War II and cast Sanger as a veteran of the conflict seems like an interesting idea at first, but it quickly backfires. Nothing about his time abroad is apparent from his behavior in that he doesn’t act like a soldier, encouraging sleep instead of proactivity and demonstrating minimal survival skills. The backstory is also lacking, with brief flashbacks of the running man and a few explosions being the only feature to identify. Detachment from reality is attempted but it is mishandled, making him seem more lazy than traumatized.
Baron Von Wolf is very clearly a German stereotype. Zaroff’s character in Connell’s story honestly wasn’t much different – but the difference here is in the script’s efforts to comment on bloodlust – which doesn’t match Von Wolf’s eccentricities, a problem that the news had nothing to do with it. treat with. He’s a bit over the top here, with a villainous streak from childhood that continued on several different species of animals, leaving him with only one form of game to hunt; though he has already left and done so, as seen in the wall of skulls in his dwelling. He’s a good villain, quite crazy and quite cartoonish, but he has no place in this film.
The supporting characters are bland in a similar way to Sanger, making the hunter the spark of the film since the writing allows for a performance in a way the rest of the cast didn’t receive.
Thrills: In a movie like The Most Dangerous Game, it’s not hard to tell what kind of paths the director and script will take to make survival plausible and give downtime a level of prescience surrounding incoming adversaries, and Lee has no intention of hard convention.
The plot and all the passing character development make up the first third of the film, but once Von Wolf begins to pitch his hunt proposal, the film is rocked by Rex’s death. The sequence is a bloody mess, with the man getting his head pounded into mush (although it’s not particularly explicit), Samuel taking a bullet, and Sanger knocked out. There’s the brutality that Von Wolf spoke of, backing up the claims of violence with evidence.
Sadly it’s all downhill from there as the pacing slows to accommodate the extra support from Mary and her brother, although the brother’s inclusion is hopeless for the action as it lasts all three minutes; killed in a silly and predictable gunshot sequence. The film should emphasize traps and survivalism here, but any attempt is weak as the storyline gives the three targets a small cabin full of supplies (including grenades and bullets), negating any risk from the setting. . Traps only make one ineffective appearance here too, leaving the basic idea hollow.
Lacking some degree of prowess in his chosen field, Von Wolf’s quarters have been decorated with numerous stuffed animal heads and stuffed whole bodies, but faced with such a passive protagonist as Sanger, he is reduced to nil. Even when his targets’ attempts to stay hidden are non-existent, he still walks right by them without so much as a second glance. After being grazed by a falling tree (the only trap), he withdraws from the wood (and from the film for 25 minutes) to bandage his wound. This well-executed explosion means nothing when the film itself doesn’t build on it.
The promise of excitement will always reside in that premise, but aside from a brief tense moment that isn’t even part of the film’s main idea, Lee hasn’t delivered on that promise.
Techniques: The pitfalls of independent filmmaking are many, but with time and experience a director and crew should be able to develop a style for their endeavors and an ability to work within constraints. Although he’s produced over a dozen features in four years, Lee hasn’t really gotten to that.
Buying gear can be extremely difficult – and it shows in the most dangerous game – because the audio isn’t great, with common sound effects and background noise being picked up and left in the final cut, and visuals that don’t match up well aside from static camera placement in wild exteriors. Action visuals like gunshots and explosions, while barely present, are digitally produced and don’t sit well with the rudimentary setting required by the story. It’s a mess of essential categories.
The writing and dialogue are big issues here too, with the post-WWII setting barely maintained in the speech as the characters are given lines that sometimes sound like time period appropriate and other times sound like something out of a movie. written in modern times. Each conversation stumbles between eras and makes it difficult for the actors to do their jobs.
A faithful adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game is hard to come by, and while Lee sticks closer than most, that doesn’t make the weak characters, technical facets, and almost total lack of excitement bearable. There’s always next week’s rendering.