Most Dangerous Game review – feel free to quibble with this web series script

April 21, 2020
M.N. Miller 0
TV Reviews
2.5

Summary

Most Dangerous Game is a standard, by the numbers feature (it‘s really a film) that is heightened by its new format, but may only be worth the value you place on “time” at the moment.

2.5

Summary

Most Dangerous Game is a standard, by the numbers feature (it‘s really a film) that is heightened by its new format, but may only be worth the value you place on “time” at the moment.

This review of Most Dangerous Game (Quibi) is spoiler-free.


Quibi is finally here; after months of commercials and social media posts talking about the peculiar little app, I had the feeling it was the next Fyre festival. Alas, the venture has gone live with several web series’ that are more like one or two television episodes or a feature-length movie broken up into a dozen or so ten-minute chunks for your viewing pleasure. One of the most anticipated of the bunch is Most Dangerous Game, an action series starring a Hemsworth, an Oscar-winner, a giant spider, and based on a story that allegedly inspired a serial killer.

The basic setup is like most from the source material that’s a modernized update of the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell (the 1924 tale of a big-game hunter who falls off a yacht and washes up on an isolated Caribbean island only to be hunted by a Russian aristocrat). The latest incarnation takes a family man, appropriately named Dodge Maynard (Liam Hemsworth), who has a burgeoning family with his wife Val (Sarah Gadon, Enemy). The only issue is Dodge is out of work, has a baby on the way, no health insurance, is under a mountain of debt, and oh yes, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Luckily, by chance, he is given a card to contact a mysterious yuppie named Miles (Christoph Waltz) who out of the goodness of his heart offers to pay him millions of dollars if he agrees to be hunted for sport.

Now, let us not mistake Most Dangerous Game for any type of classic literature or superior mainstream entertainment like The Fugitive. The action series really has no distinct feel or style that stands out other than its modern setting; which is a disappointment considering the series was directed by Phil Abraham, a well-respected television director and cinematographer from some of this century’s most prominent, landmark shows (The Sopranos, Mad Men, The Good Wife). The script by Nick Santora touches on the themes of the source material, with Dodge feeling the same as the hunted prey by game hunters and looking at warrantable murder. The issue here is they forget the juxtaposition of the two main characters that make the material so interesting and enduring for almost 100 years.

Most Dangerous Game 2

That being said, while generic, it really has been more akin to most against-time thrillers, a “running thriller” that has so much of it, I was half expecting multiple people on the side of the road to hand the players Gatorade to replenish their electrolytes. Santora’s script does build a nice amount of suspense that may actually have more to do with its unusual format than the product itself. Hemsworth is too lightweight of an actor not to have run around for 120 minutes without someone to play off of or hide behind action set pieces. There aren’t enough scenes together with Waltz, who at least brings an endearment to the role of caring about Dodge as a person, if not his life. You have your standard clichés as well, like the at-home supportive, worried wife, and of course the handsome guy’s lovable, pudgy best friend. Also, the fair amount of red-herrings and the laughable entry in Episode 9 doesn’t help matters when it comes to a script that needs to make smarter choices based on its format and limitations.

The verdict? Overall, it’s a free series (currently, Quibi has a 90-day trial that is complimentary at the moment), that has moderate suspense, when there is a serious lack of new forms of entertainment to watch right now. Though my job is to grade the success of the project, not the value or profitability the viewer may place on the project (I once attended a taping of a late-night talk show where he told the audience not to boo because it was a free show, yet, some would argue now that time is more valuable than money). Still, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a stream of free entertainment right now that is strictly about taking your mind off things instead of any political statement.
So, let’s call it what it is; Most Dangerous Game is a standard, by the numbers feature (it is really a film) that is heightened by its new format, and lifted by a good Christof Waltz performance, but may only be worth the need to pass the time at the moment.


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