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Film / Survival Quest

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Survival Quest in a 1989 film directed by Don Coscarelli and stars Lance Henriksen, Mark Rolston, Catherine Keener and Dermot Mulroney.

Survival Quest is a group of several people from different backgrounds who learn outdoor skills and to enjoy themselves. Meanwhile, the Blue Legion, a paramilitary camp group led by Jake, are in the same area and terrorize them. But then Raider, one of the soldiers, gets different ideas and wants to kill them.


The tropes in this film include:

  • Asshole Victim: Subverted with Jake. He runs the Blue Legion with an iron fist and isn't afraid to berate and hurt his men if need be. So when Raider stabs him and if he were dead right there, no one would bat an eyelash at his death. However, he survives long enough for Hank to help him and he's touched by his kindness, even thinking he should have left him to die and even expresses thanks to Hank for his efforts before he succumbs to his wounds.
  • Ax-Crazy: While the rest of the Blue Legion are bullies at worst, Raider sticks out by being a psychopath, willing to hurt and kill the Survival Questers.
  • Bad Boss: When one of the Blue Legion members die by falling in a river, Raider chews them out for looking for them, isntead focusing on "revenge".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Joey brings along a slingshot, which comes in handy later when a Blue Legion sniper aims for Gray while he tries to cut a rope another Blue Legion member is climbing across the river. Joey makes a successful hit through the scope and Gray cuts it, sending the soldier plunging to his death in the river below.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Joey, who keeps making quips about all the survival skills Survival Quest entails.
  • Eat That: Hank has the others eat worms to get their food, with Joey being reluctant to do so.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As tyrannical as Jake may be, he is appaled by Raider when he shoots Hank, not wanting anyone killed and even beats him up for it. Unfortunately, Raider ends up stabbing him afterwards.
  • Foil: Hank Chambers is one for Jake Cannon. Hank is incredibly supportive of the Survival Questers, having them work together, build trust with one another and relies on skills to survive in nature, and is all around a Nice Guy. The leader of the Blue Legion, Jake, however, is a Jerkass who berates his men and hurts them, getting quite physical in exercises and attempts to knock on their heads that they shouldn't trust anyone, not even him. And he has his squad kill a deer with a gun, which Hank doesn't find very sporting.
  • Frame-Up: Raider fatally stabs Jake and frames Hank for it, to coax the Blue Legion into hunting down the Survival Questers for "revenge".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Two of the Blue Legion members are appalled by Raider's psychotic nature and run away and join the Survival Questers. Unfortunately, they would both end up getting killed by Raider at one point.
  • Ironic Echo: In a training exercise, Jake grabs Raider as he walks away, warning him "Never turn your back on an enemy". Then later on, after Jake berates him for shooting Hank, he walks away, getting stabbed by Raider, who quotes this back to him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jeff, who is more than willing to leave Survival Questers aside when they struggle to make it in the wilderness. Later on though, he sees the error of his ways and apologizes and sticks with the team.
  • Kill It with Fire: Raider meets his end when Gray shoots a fuel tank behind him, which immolates him. Gray manages to survive by getting into a little pool.
  • Lured into a Trap: After the last of the renegade Blue Legion members attempt to go to the radio station to get help and get killed by Raider and his men, the Survival Questers, go to the tower, where Raider shoots at them in the final stand.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Gray is a convict who's under Survival Quest and initially isn't trusted by the others or vice versa. Hank however gives him a pep talk talking about how they both didn't have any father figures in their lives and manages to help him. Afterwards, he's more interactive with them and helps them, even leading Raider to a trap to kill him.
  • Mountain Man: More smaller and less scruffier than what's traditionally portrayed, but Hank certainly fits the bill.
  • Not Quite Dead: Hank manages to survive getting shot by Raider and manages to heal his wounds and unsuccessfully tries to save Jake's life and he's seen at the end with the plane to get the Survival Questers.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Raider is a psychopath murderer who's keen on torturing anyone he wants and is ready to kill the Survival Questers on a false pretense of revenge.
  • The Starscream: Raider kills Jake and takes over the Blue Legion so he can kill the Survival Questers.
  • Token Minority: The black guy Jeff.

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