STARRING Ice-T, Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey, Charles Dutton and F. Murray Abraham

We’re glad we’re not as paranoid as the makers of this film. Living their lives seems just a bit too painful. Chalk it up to having one more reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Surviving the Game is awfully paranoid, but it is not awful; in fact, it’s almost a good enough movie to break out of the B-Movie genre entirely. But close doesn’t count, and so we’re left to explain why you should watch this hilarious movie at your next B-Movie night.

Mason (Ice-T) is a smelly homeless guy with dreadlocks, down and out but with a fire in his belly that didn’t come from alcohol. He’s as low as you can go in life, but he’s got his pride, and so when a preacher (Charles Dutton) offers him a sandwich, he turns it down. What Mason doesn’t turn down, though, is a job, and so the next day he accompanies the preacher to a lodge, apparently for some job training and to fill out paperwork.

Mason walks into a room full of rich white guys (Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey, F. Murray Abraham, etc) and they all share a toast to their new “guide.” Can you see the “game” which Mason will have to “survive”?

Yep, the next morning, Mason wakes up staring at Gary Busey (a scary sight by anyone’s standards). Busey shoves a gun in Mason’s face and says he’s got a ten-minute head start. See, he’s not really a guide- he’s the target for Whitey’s hunting trip! Mason’s a heavy smoker, which means he can’t run fast (not compared to the bad guys and their all-terrain bikes) but he’s clever, so he figures out ways to outsmart his hunters and save his skin. Maybe he was a Boy Scout before he was a homeless guy.

This movie is a riot. It is not a riot because it’s implausible, like The Stuff, but because it is a macho action movie, and macho action movies are funny. Ice-T lands as many great action hero lines as he does punches, while the villains are all evil in a slightly different way, Hauer as the cool, methodical brains of the outfit, Abraham as the wuss who finds his inner devil when cornered, and Gary Busey as a flat-out crazy, bloodthirsty mother.

And certainly the huge amount of paranoia helps make the movie fun. Apparently Mason’s just one more in a long line of homeless folk these VIP’s have hunted over the years. How do we know this? Because they’ve preserved their heads in a special trophy room in the lodge! Mason nearly retches when he stumbles onto the room. He sets the room afire to mess with Gary Busey’s mind, and as the cabin burned our own Mike Ostrego yelled out “SAVE THE HEADS! SAVE THE HEADS!” which is now a legendary quote at our HQ. The ending is classic as well, a perfect cheesy ending that fits right in with the movie.

You will not be disappointed with “Surviving the Game,” and don’t be surprised if you find yourself walking up to complete strangers and saying “SAVE THE HEADS!”

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