13: GAME OF DEATH
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A young man who is down on his luck after losing his girlfriend and his job receives a phone call one day. Not just any phone call, but a mysterious voice promising him money and fame if he can only complete 13 challenges. No one can know he's playing, and he must complete each challenge to get the prize. Unfortunately for him, the challenges are not easy- how far would you go for riches if you had nothing to lose?
Is it good movie?
Some people may think I'm nuts for saying this, but I really got a kick out of 13: Game of Death, I thought it was a hoot. That may also be one of the reasons the movie won't be tremendously memorable to me, and one of my only real complaints about it. I wish that this film had been played a little more seriously at times, because if it had, I think it would have had a much greater impact on me. As it was though, I enjoyed my romp with it.
The plot here is something we've seen before. Someone who can't seem to get it together is offered something tremendously tempting, and it ends up being far more than they bargained for. Think of this film as The Game meets The Running Man meets Saw. In fact, that's an excellent way of describing 13: Game of Death. The challenges start off really easy (killing a fly), and as you can guess, they get really hard, involving the deaths of innocent victims.
If I gave away all thirteen challenges, there would be no real appeal to this film, so I won't. Instead I'll tell you that when some challenges are revealed, you and your buddies will cringe and possibly high five each other. When things get nasty near the end, it gets a little bit hard to watch (I’m not big on animal cruelty). There are more than a few "holy sh*t" moments though, and this one's not shy on gore. Decapitations and many other wounds will splatter their way into your heart in this one.
The film's pace is frantic and exciting, and for every darker moment, there are 5 laughs thrown in for good measure. I had a good laugh at the 'dinner' scene, and especially the 'zombie' scene. The part with the family answering the phone was a good laugh too, albeit frustrating.
Other complaints are minor- number one, once Pusit (the main character) finds out he is wanted, why doesn't he change his clothes? I know he's busy, but come on. Number two, the police aren't very smart in this movie and some of the things they do seem to be reaching into a subplot that doesn't matter at all. Number three, the person or persons responsible for the whole thing? I thought that was pretty far-fetched, not to mention the fact that the methods are never explained. Finally my biggest gripe is that everything leads up to one 'moment', and that moment is supposedly foreshadowed beforehand. I thought that the big reveal was disappointing and poorly built. The ending was satisfying enough, but if it was supposed to be a real 'shocker', it wasn't.
Video / Audio
Video here is simply listed as Widescreen enhanced for widescreen TVs, and the picture looks relatively sharp but could definitely see some cleanup needed to be done on it. Still though, the picture is more than watchable.
Audio comes in either Thai or English Dolby 5.1, and both sounded quite good, a nice mix. The dubbing can be pretty awful though so I'd stick to the Thai dialogue with English subs.
All you get for extras is The Making of 13: Game of Death, which is a very standard little production. It is just over 15 minutes long and essentially runs through the basics from the director, actors, producers, special effects specialist, and fans. Nothing special, and the video quality is terrible.
There's also the theatrical trailer, and the teaser trailer too.
I really enjoyed this flick, and found it to be highly entertaining. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but it delivered a more light-hearted version of my expectations. The gore is good, the plot keeps you involved, and the acting is decent too, so I'd definitely recommend this one.