13: Game of Death (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Krissada Terrence, Achita Sikamana, Sarunyu Wongkrachang, Nattapong Arunnate
Directed by Chukiat Sakweerakul
Distributed by Dimension Extreme
Is money the root of all evil, or is it our greed for it that makes those innocuous sheets of paper such a to-die-for prospect? That's like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg? No matter how you look at it, there's no doubt people, especially desperate people, have done some pretty ludicrous shit for love of the old greenbacks.
Meet Pusit (Terrence) a horridly down on his luck salesman that feels as if he has no place in this world. His bills are of the astronomical variety; he has no girlfriend and, honestly, not much to live for. If only he could find a way to make some quick cash. Money could solve everything, right? At the very least if he were rolling in dough, he could get himself a chick or two. If only. Ring! Hear that? It's opportunity calling. After answering a mysterious phone call, Pusit is offered increments of cash for each of the thirteen tasks he's asked to complete, eventually landing him a sweet one hundred million bahts (that's Thai cash for those of you not versed in the currency of other countries). How could he resist? Pusit agrees, and the first test comes to light -- kill an insect! SQUASH! Done. Of course you realize that the other twelve games get more and more deadly and, even worse, more and more disturbing.
13: Game of Death is a Thai import (yes, it is subtitled) that hits the ground running and never lets up. Based upon a comic book, this story has everything you'd expect to see emblazoned upon the pages of artists with a limitless canvas and lots of imagination. Dark humor is sprinkled in nicely throughout the carnage, and holy shit, is there carnage! Simply put, there are scenes in this little flick that are just disgusting, and mind you I'm as jaded as they come. I'm not going to go into any detail because doing so would spoil the spoils of our inner blood-hungry gorehound, but suffice it to say this film doesn't disappoint when it comes to delivering and slathering on the grue. But is that all we get? Quicky gross-out gags? Fear not! 13: Game of Death delivers on just about every front -- stand-out acting, tight editing, and the truly slick direction of Sakweerakul make this one for the Asian horror books!
Now if only the DVD itself delivered on the same level of quality as the film. Other than two trailers -- one domestic and one international -- all we get is a seemingly brief seventeen-minute behind-the-scenes look at 13. Though pretty much paint-by-numbers, this featurette does deliver a little bit more than the average making-of if only because of its foreign elements. Foreign movies are made so differently than they are here. If only we could incorporate more Asian flavor in the States. Who am I kidding? Hollywood take some chances instead of delivering remake after PG13 rated snooze-fest after remake? Never happen. Asian horror ends for most of our country with little girls who sport long black hair.
13: Game of Death is an action packed psychological splatterfest with a lot to say. Though it's a bit derivative here and there (its biggest pitfall), overall it's a good bet for folks who are looking for something a bit different. Once again, Dimension Extreme shoots and scores! Who would have thunk it?
3 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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