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Featured DVD Review: Game of Assassins

September 21st, 2014

Game of Assassins - Buy from Amazon: DVD

Last week, I reviewed Warrior Princess, a film I had never heard of before that was coming out direct-to-DVD by Lionsgate. This didn't set up the highest expectations and that film failed to rise above them. This week I'm reviewing Game of Assassins, which is a direct-to-DVD release by Lionsgate. Again, expectations are low. Will this film be a surprise hit? Or will I be disappointed again?

The Movie

After seeing a flashback / dream sequence of a hostage situation gone wrong, we see a man, David, wake up on a mound of mummified remains. He sees a weapon amongst the bodies and picks it up, only to be attacked by another man, Jin-soo. They quickly figure out they are in the same position. They both just woke up and they both have no idea why they are there. While discussing the possibilities, they are attacked by Emma and Tyler, who again are just like them. They don't know where they are, how they got there, who put them there, or how to get out.

After a little bit, they find a room where a woman has been killed and is hanging from chains. David recognizes some Satanic symbols (Catholic school training) and reads an inscription on the rocks. "Welcome to the end of your lives, for once you have survived these halls, you will no longer be who you once were. You have begun the first of four levels of the gauntlet. Each has a test and a choice. Like Gideon's escape, there is one exit, and one way of opening it. Begin." With that, the wall closes behind them forcing them to go forward, which they do, after picking up one more member of their group, Kim Lee.

At this point, we start to run into spoilers. It's very early in the movie, but the puzzles should be left as a surprise. There are a number of films similar to Game of Assassins in that it starts with a group of strangers who wake up in a strange locations with no memory how they got there. Cube, Unknown, Nine Dead, and others all start with this premise. ... That's enough to make it its own Keyword. I just need to figure out what to call it, because "a group of strangers who wake up in a strange locations with no memory how they got there" is a little long. Because the basic premise isn't unique, the film really has to rely on the execution to be worth checking out. Fortunately, the execution is good, for the most part. It is a low budget movie, but it doesn't look really cheap. The puzzles were interesting and the overall theme was intriguing. Unfortunately, the ending wasn't satisfying. There was a climax and then a big reveal and my reaction was, "Meh."

The Extras

The only extras on the DVD are three deleted scenes with a total running time of 5 minutes.

The Verdict

Game of Assassins is better than I was expecting for much of the movie, but the ending is a letdown. Even so, it's not a bad way to spend 80 minutes and the DVD is worth a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, Bai Ling, Dustin Nguyen, Warren Kole, Jaime Ray Newman, Nick Lane