13: Game of Death Review
Written by: jmh314
The only thing I may enjoy more than Asian horror movies is Asian gameshows. Between those two things one can stay entertained forever. So when I heard there was a Thai horror film coming out that revolved around a twisted game show, i knew this film was for me. 13 Game of Death was the film and it did a great job mixing game show ideas with thriller elements to hook me in. Unfortunately it was unable to satisfy as the ending twist was a bit much for me and went to far down the social commentary path. However there is plenty to keep you hooked as you want to see what happens during each step of the game.
13: Game of Death revolved around down-on-his-luck everyman, Chit. We learn that his girl recently left him, his car gets repossesed as he missed several payments. Things get even worse as he goes into work only to find out he is being let go and his mom calls and eneds to borrow a good amount of money. Chit cant even seem to catch a break when the chance is given to him.
While taking a smoke break on his last day of work, he receives a mysterious phone call sayinghe has been randomly chosen to participate in a game winning money for every task he completes and if he finishes all 13 tasks he will be awarded 100 million. Chit is skeptical until he accepts his first challenge which was to kill a pesky fly with a newspaper. When he does this he gets a notice from his bank that the money he was told he would get for the task had been deposited into his account. After the second task, Chit realizes the game is for real as they can see him complete the tasks and then deposit more money into his account. He is told if he decides to continue on he will lose all the money if he 1) Fails a mission or 2) Tells anyone he is a part of this game. He is also told he can keep the money he has already won if he decides to quit before he finished all 13 tasks. Chit decides he wants to keep going and finish the game.....for now.
With is last day of work over and the possibility of winning all this money, Chit punches a pesky co-worker and heads out with the confidence he can complete his tasks. His phone rings with the next task, and he realizes that things are only going to get harder. As he becomes more successful, each task also has an increasing level of humiliation. Soon Chit begins to wonder what dignity he will have to sacrifice next on his pursuit of 100 million. Will giving up all his dignity and endangering himself and others become too much for Chit, or will he do whatever it takes to land the 100 million in prize money?
I really liked the premise of 13: Game of Death. It really had a great main character who was an ordinary guy and was being tested to see what he would do for money. He really has to test himself and put his dignity on hold and see if money is worth personal humiliation. Each task got more difficult, but I think one of the downfalls is that they could have almost been even more challenging. I think it wasnt visceral enough as some of the tasks just seemed like a waste when the writers could of truly pushed the tasks to an even more morbid level.
Krissada Terrence plays Chit and I do believe he was a great casting choice. You can believe that he is an ordinary guy through his actions and the pain he shows when he is tested beyond his comfort zone. He was able to make Chit a likeable character that you felt bad for but could still root on at the same time. Other than his role there really werent too many other roles to note as most characters are minor.
The cinematography was quite good despite being pretty ordinary settings. The settings were a big city on an average day where Chit had to perform these tasks without drawing attention to himself. Still these settings help tell an intigral part of the story and make you realize this could be happening to anyone. There arent many special FX but I will say one scene was pretty bad looking. It was the only gory scene and it looked like it was done in front of a green screen. I dont want to ruin it but I think it just looked like parts were taken out in front of a green screen or even via computer. However, the food for task #5 was very realiztic and quite disgusting looking. Ewww.
Overall 13: Game of Death sets itself up very well. The story sucks you in and you really want to see what this guy is willing to do for 100 million in prize money. However i feel it failed to capitalize as the tasks could have probably been more gritty and humiliating towards the end. I think they had an opportunity to push the boundary further without sacrificing the very human element to it all but they didnt capitalize on it. Also the twist at the end was very Saw-ish as it becomes more social commentary than I expected. It doesnt end on a great note which really soured things a little for me. I was hoping it would be much more tight and end with a huge impact. But the ending aside, I think there is enough here to pull people in looking for a good thriller with some very real human subplots to it. It offers some suspense, some "would I have done that" moments, and is addicting enough that you want to see it through to the end. I just wish the end result would have been a much better payoff.