1994’s Surviving the Game is one of the unheralded gems of nineties action flicks. It stars Ice-T, many years before he became part of the cast of Law & Order SVU. Back then, he was known primarily as a rapper, but following roles in New Jack City, Trespass and Ricochet, he became an up-and-comer, with many pegging him as a potential urban action star.
In Surviving the Game, Ice-T plays a homeless man being hunted in the wild in a variation on the classic tale, Most Dangerous Game. This story has always been excellent fodder for action flicks, with the previous year’s Hard Target ranking as one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s classics.
While New Line Cinema couldn’t give the movie a massive budget, they didn’t cheap out either, giving Ice-T a great director in Ernest Dickerson, who was Spike Lee’s go-to cinematographer and the director of the well-received gangsta tale, Juice. He was surrounded by a murderer’s row of character actors, including Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey, F. Murray Abraham, Charles S. Dutton and John C. McGinley. They would all play the men hunting him, and in this episode of The Best Movie You Never Saw, we dig into how the scenery-chewing of one cast member (Busey) alienated another (Hauer) and undercut the film, even if it delivered the film’s single more arresting scene. We also look at how Most Dangerous Game has always influenced the genre and how the formula still exists today. This episode of The Best Movie You Never Saw is written and narrated by Chris Bumbray and edited by Edward Clark. Have you seen Surviving the Game? Let us know in the comments.