Director: Jon Hewitt
Screenplay: Belinda McClory
Starring: Dominic Purcell, Viva Bianca, Robert Taylor, Nicholas Hammond, Belinda McClory, Juan Jackson
Running Time: 86 mins
BBFC Classification: 15
Rick (Dominic Purcell) is a disgraced Navy SEAL, languishing in a brutal prison for allegedly killing a group of innocent civilians. Out of the blue he’s offered the chance of a pardon for the heinous crime that he’s accused of. The agreement is for him to take part in a deadly game show – Turkey Shoot – and if he survives he’ll be granted his freedom; if he fails, he’ll die. Rick reluctantly agrees to the challenge, so is sedated and later wakes up to find himself in a jungle wilderness being hunted by four trophy hunters, namely Alpha (a bowman); Kintay (a female ninja); Golgotha (an overweight nutter with a sword); and Ramrod (an ex-Navy SEAL sniper who currently holds the record for the largest number of kills on the show).
It doesn’t take long for hard man Rick to turn the tables on his would-be killers, and round one ends with three hunters dead and Ramrod unconscious, after first admitting to Rick that our stoic hero had been set up and hadn’t really committed the war crime he was formerly accused of. No surprise there then really.
The second round is set in a different location, that of the San Diego bay dockland area, full of massive shipping containers and cranes. Rick is pitted against a new bunch of killers, including Hankon (a big dude wielding an even bigger gun); Killshot (a crazy blonde with two small pistol machine guns); Armageddon (a Korean with some impressive martial arts skills); and Ramrod again, who’s now even more determined to put a bullet into (and probably through) Rick’s head.
The over-zealous Colonel Thatcher, who set Rick up in the first place, is determined to see the marked man dead so he sends in a crack team of commandos to join the fray, and also an ex-friend of Rick’s, namely Commander Jill Wilson, who’ll fly the squad in by chopper. Although Rick is severely out-numbered and out-gunned he manages to acquit himself well and with Jill’s help makes a break for it, to try and get to the bottom of why he was set up, and by whom.
Elimination Game is a fun, low-rent kind of sci-fi action movie that is fine as a Friday night pizza and beer sort of film. It’s very cheesy, very violent, and is full of the sort of dialogue that could never work outside of this kind of subgenre of movie.
On the plus side it’s fast-paced, knows exactly what kind of film it’s trying to be, and offers pretty much everything fans of that kind of movie want to see – fights, explosions, booby-traps, boobies, helicopters, big guns, useless assassins who are worse at hitting targets than Star Wars storm-troopers, and lots of running! On the negative side lead actor Dominic Purcell looks pretty bored throughout and has all the charm of a failing hover! I therefore found it quite hard to sympathise with his character, even though he was the good guy…
Elimination Game is obviously a pretty low-budget film, shot in Victoria, Australia, and seems to make an art-form of inserting lots of stock footage and news clips into its running time, including what appears to be some real-life car crash footage, which I thought was a bit of a cynical thing to do.
The film is a partial remake of executive producer Brain Trenchard-Smith’s earlier film, Turkey Shoot/Blood Camp Thatcher, and this same film can be seen playing out on a TV screen at some point during proceedings.
I quite liked the way the game show was run with overly enthusiastic presenters, Tom and Tina, happily extolling the virtues of the various killers and geeing up the studio audience. There’s also a bigger political agenda at play in this story, involving ‘World War Africa’, which I thought was an interesting idea. It’s just a shame they couldn’t have made more of that aspect of the film, to make the whole tale work, well, a bit better.
If you’re looking for a ‘leave your brain at the door’ kind of movie, you could do a lot worse than Elimination Game. But just remember: ‘Turkey Shoot – It’s Live, with Death’!
Elimination Game has been released on Blu-Ray and DVD and is being distributed by Altitude Film Distribution. The only additional feature on the disc is the film’s trailer.