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Scarecrow on Seattle: SURVIVING THE GAME

In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Film + Music' to bring you reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on how these films showcase the region's many filmable locations.

Surviving the Game (1994)

For this week's column I thought it would be fun to take a trip east of the Cascades for a derivative little action flick called Surviving the Game. The movie is the umpteenth film variation on Richard Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game in which a big game hunter pursues humans. In this case Ice Mother-Effing T stars as a homeless guy who becomes the target of a bunch of rich demented jerks but, as you can predict, the prey turns the tables and the hunters become the hunted. The huntsmen are portrayed by an interesting assortment of hammy actors including Rutger Past Midnight Hauer, Charles S. Dutton, Gary Busey, F. Murray Abraham and John C.Highway McGinley.

While the plot is overly familiar, the filmmakers make intriguing use of several Eastern Washington locations. Most of the film is supposed to take place in Hell's Canyon on the Idaho/Oregon border, but it was actually shot in the stunning Wenatchee National Forest and the gorgeous Lake Wenatchee State Park. Both are naturally wondrous parts of the state and give the film a rugged dose of Ponderosa Pine-filled eye candy. When we are first introduced to Ice-T's character he is struggling to survive in a trash-filled Seattle alley-a suitably skuzzy part of Wenatchee makes for a reasonable facsimile of a downtrodden part of the Emerald City. As far as I can tell, all of Surviving the Game was shot within the friendly confines of Washington State, with one extremely jarring exception. During the movie's climactic scene, the Philadelphia skyline appears briefly as Seattle. It's very strange that the filmmakers, rather than grabbing a quick shot while passing through here, chose a fairly recognizable foreign cityscape to represent our hometown. Hmm. Between the scenery chewing by the cast and the scenery provided by Mother Nature, there is enough going on to make Surviving the Game a moderately enjoyable time-passer. Heck, the movie might even assist in your summer vacation planning. Just be sure to stay away from any big game hunters that look like Rutger Hauer.

-Spenser Hoyt

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