Surviving the Game is a 1994 action film starring Ice-T, Rutger Hauer, and Gary Busey, loosely based on the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell.Jack Mason is a homeless man who thinks his life can't get any worse. Aside from having no home and not a dollar to his name, he loses his two best friends in the same day, and decides to commit suicide. A soup kitchen worker, Walter Cole, saves him from his suicide attempt and directs him to a business man named Thomas Burns, who offers him a job as a hunting guide. Mason has his doubts, but hey, well-paying job, right?Wrong.Shortly after getting to the remote site in the Pacific Northwest, Mason discovers that the rest of the hunting party (who paid handsomely to be there) has one specific prey in mind to hunt, said to be the most challenging of all prey animals: Man.And guess who their lucky quarry is?Surviving the Game received mostly negative reviews, and holds a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it has since developed a cult following.
This movie contains examples of:
- Boom, Headshot: Cole plugs Griffin in the head with his .44 Desert Eagle so he can't reveal the existence of their hunts to the authorities. For such a large caliber weapon, there is surprisingly little mess.
- Bridge Logic: Mason bridges a ravine with a tree by cutting it with a shotgun.
- Chekhov's Gun: The pack of cigarettes that Doc Hawkins gives to Mason come into play when the now-hunted man has to create a diversion. How they end up perfectly dry after an impromptu swim in a river is a bit of a mystery.
- Disposable Vagrant: Burns makes his money by roping vagrants into the role of prey for his hunter friends.
- From Bad to Worse: Mason thought his life couldn't get any worse. He was wrong.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The premise.
- Knife Nut: Doc Hawkins really likes his bowie knife. The way he comes into the cabin crouched low with it in hand is evocative of slasher villains. However...
- Good Old Fisticuffs: ...he ditches the knife when he has the opportunity to kill Mason. "We're going bare hands."
- Not So Different: Griffin and Mason learn they have much in common with one another.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Explored. One character relates a story where his father made him train his dog as an attack dog and then kill it, stating afterwards that, "Now, you are a man."
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Subverted. Though the SPAS-12 that Mason shoots appears to suffer from a stovepipe jam after the first shot, he keeps the shotgun and later uses it to set up a trap (presumably, he clears it sometime in-between scenes).
- Rich Boredom: The rich hunting clients all pay $50,000 in order to go hunting - hunting a human, that is - for the ultimate rush.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Just as Burns begins to describe why Mason won't make it out in the wilderness, the latter man fires off his newly acquired shotgun. It doesn't manage to hit any of the men hunting him, yet Burn stops his spiel all the same.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Once Mason collects himself and starts thinking, he begins cutting down the hunters one by one.
- Underestimating Badassery: Everyone underestimates Mason to some degree...but Burns embraces this trope fully no matter what happens.