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The Hollywood Insider Survive the Game Review, Bruce Willis, Chad Michael Murray

Photo: ‘Survive the Game’ 

Survive the Game directed by James Cullen Bressack and starring famous actor, Bruce Willis, has been preceded by films, Cosmic Sin, Midnight in the Switchgrass, and Out of Death. Not quite spectacular but revealing of Willis’s potential, made us positive and hopeful that ‘Survive the Game’ would be a much more enjoyable and successful film.

After a botched drug bust, David, played by Bruce Willis, and his partner Cal, Swen Temmel, are on the hunt for Violet, Kate Katzman, and her boyfriend, Zack Ward, who are both the reason for the drug bust’s failure. What seems to be a random connection but later is key to the story and its plot, we also run into Eric, a troubled soldier who recently lost his family in a vehicle accident. The chase between the four drug operators leads them straight to Eric’s land and involves him in the crazy scheme. 

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What Is ‘Survive the Game’ About? 

In order to exist, Eric and Cal must put up with each other. The entrance of the rest of the gang complicates things but adds a level of spice and excitement that was lacking before, especially when David shows up, but as their prisoner. The rest of the film revolves around whether this unique crowd of people will be able to save him and leave with their lives intact or suffer at the hands of the gang and the supreme boss.

The defense involves lots of stealth, smarts, and marksmanship in collaboration when it comes to fighting and taking down the mob, scenes where we get some of our best acting and cinematography. 

The production company includes Emmett/Furla Oasis, BondIt LLC, Verdi Productions, and Buffalo 8 Productions with producers Randall Emmett, George Furla, Alex Eckert, Luillo Ruiz, Chad A. Verdi, and Mark Stewart behind it. The full list of this star-studded cast includes Bruce Willis, Chad Michael Murray, Donna D’Errico, Kate Katzman, Sarah Roemer, Swen Temmel, James Cullen Bressack, and Sean Kanan. 

Chad Michael Murray, a favorite heartthrob of this generation, is previously known for his role in ‘A Cinderella Story,’ ‘Freaky Friday,’ and ‘One Tree Hill.’ Bruce Willis, whose name needs no introduction is best known for his casting in ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Armageddon,’ ‘Unbreakable,’ ‘The Sixth Sense,’ and ‘Hostage.’ 

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Accomplishments of the Cast and Crew 

James Cullen Bressack, known for his role in ‘Blood Craft’ and first-time feature writer Ross Peacock dish up a very basic good guys vs evil guys story made up of bits and pieces from other, mainly better movies. Despite the formulaic nature of it, it’s enjoyable and doesn’t fail to deliver a good vs evil story that we can enjoy. And, except for Violet and Mickey, who are a shameless rip-off of Natural Born Killers’ Mickey and Mallory, the cast and crew do a good job of tying all the loose ends and creating a movie squad that we root for. 

While Survive the Game (not to be confused with Survive the Night, which also starred Willis and Chad Michael Murray, or Ice-Surviving T’s the Game, for that matter) does a good job of milking the endless scenes of the gang stalking Cal through the overgrown remains of Eric’s farm for suspense, even if the outcome is never in doubt, it does a good job of milking the endless scenes of the gang stalking Cal through the overgrown remains Bressack also manages to create several well-shot combat scenes, helping to raise the film above a slew of other low-budget action movies.

Not Perfect But Still a Pleasant Watch, Where Does Survive the Game Fall Short?

Survive the Game’s vehicle chases, on the other hand, are unconvincing, seeming more like the result of camera trickery than a handful of excellent stunt drivers. There are also the typical problems, such as villains who speak instead of shooting, or who wait until they’re close enough to be disarmed before shooting. And, while he’s in better form than Segal, Willis doesn’t seem very believable beating up on men half his age.

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Thankfully, he spends the majority of Survive the Game tied to a chair, leaving all the action-packed scenes for the better fit and skilled secondary cast. These include Baywatch actor, Donna D’Errico, Battle Star Wars star, Canyon Prince, who is made fun of during the film but adds necessary humor, and Michael Shirow from Disturbing the Peace. 

Bruce Willis in ‘Survive the Game’: Flop or Not?

There is also a lot of repetition in ‘Survive the Game,’ with many similar violent criminals and fight scenes that are hard to differentiate. But, the engaging dialogue makes up for it and those moments are overlooked for the snappy, quick conversations between our main characters. 

Credit should also be given to Cullen Bressack for shooting creative sequences and scenes, especially during the shooting/combat scenes. One scene reminiscent of a James Bond act involves a lot of creative camera angles to show a hand-to-hand fight in a moving vehicle. 

Willis himself also finds a way to be a part of the chaos and offers something special and exciting that you’ll remember past the end of the film. 

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‘Survive the Game’ Is the Crime Thriller of 2021

Survive the Game is a better-than-average formula thriller that manages to offer more than the usual amount of action and culminates in a very stunning final act, complete with a non-CGI explosion. It might not be one of Willis’ career highlights or greatest films, but it’s interesting and reintroduces fan-favorite Chad Michael Murray back onto our screens. 

Rated R for Language Throughout/Violence, you can watch the film now in limited theaters and see for yourself whether this crime thriller is something you’d enjoy!

By Mireille Karadanaian

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  • Mireille Karadanaian

    Mireille Karadanaian is an entertainment journalist, whose passion for reviewing upcoming TV shows and movies has existed since a young age. She writes reviews and feature entertainment stories for The Hollywood Insider’s inclusive and authentic platform, contributing to the important stories being told in media today. Mireille loves discussing the impact today’s media is making on younger generations who emulate what they see on screen and the Internet, a double-edged sword. Her stories often include the importance of creating content that inspires inclusion, positivity, and productive messages to all audiences and generations. Mireille’s love of covering TV shows, movies, and exciting questions that are being asked in the media world is seen in her writing and her ability to not just report facts but also tell a story. 

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