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Game of Death (Blu-ray Review)

6 Feb, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 2/15/11
Sony Pictures
$24.96 DVD, $30.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language.
Stars Wesley Snipes, Zoe Bell, Robert Davi, Gary Daniels.

Wesley Snipes’ career in recent years has been overshadowed by a long-running feud with the IRS, which culminated in a 2008 guilty verdict, a suspended jail sentence and court-ordered payment of millions of dollars in back taxes.

Against this backdrop, it’s safe to assume Snipes would take just about any role offered to satisfy creditors, considering he wasn’t allowed to leave the country to co-star in box office hit The Expendables (his role going to Terry Crews).

In Game of Death, Snipes remains domesticated, showcasing his trademark pokerfaced bravado and mixed martial arts fighting acumen to pleasantly elevate a relatively pedantic movie, despite all the flying bullets, screeching SUVs and hovering helicopters.

Snipes plays CIA agent Marcus, who is sent to Detroit to eliminate an evil arms dealer (Robert Davi) and the hedge fund manager who finances him. Plans quickly go awry when Marcus realizes his back-up team would rather double-cross him and make-off with $100 million of the dealer’s cash — conveniently stashed in two large duffle bags.

The action primarily takes place in a large city hospital after the arms dealer suffers a heart attack and Marcus, who is playing his bodyguard, develops double vision brought on by his diabetes. His sugar level is restored just in time to avoid the first of many would-be CIA assassins recruited to take him out.

Much of the history between Marcus and his former colleagues is revisited in an extended gun battle sequence with Agent Floria, played with typical aplomb by sexy New Zealand stuntwoman/actor Zöe Bell (Angel of Death) — minus the Kiwi accent.

Game of Death opens with scenes of Marcus visiting a priest (Ernie Hudson) and carrying one of the duffle bags, leaving the viewer with a story primarily told in flashbacks.

Luckily, Snipes’ cool fills the void, as do six behind-the-scenes featurettes on the disc.

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