Main cast: Ryan Merriman (The Host), Perrey Reeves (Savannah Black), Adam Hampton (Anthony Tucker), Katie Burgess (Joy), Cate Jones (Stephanie), Luke Wyckoff (Albert), Erika Daly (Laura), Kyle Penington (Little Brother), Rett Terrell (Big Brother), Tiger Sheu (Ren), Gary Frazier (Billy), Sidney Flack (Dr Eli Franklin), and Raychelle McDonald (The Producer)
Director: Ryan Bellgardt
The Jurassic Games brings back the same director and a few cast members from the terrible, terrible Gremlin (not to be confused with the series of movies from the 1980s), so perhaps piggybacking on words and phrases from more established and well known movie franchises for their movie titles is the way these people do things. Make no mistake, this is a very low budget movie with CGI that resemble the efforts of that kid hired part time for cheap to do this thing for the first time ever.
Basically, these people must have seen what was hot a few years back and went, “Won’t it be cool if we could combine The Hunger Games with dinosaurs? It can’t go wrong!”
Hence, the premise of this movie will be very familiar to most people. In the distant future, ten people on death row are shunted off to take part in The Jurassic Games, “the ultimate reality show on Earth”, which is a game that takes place entirely in virtual reality. These contestants are all rigged up to the device, in which they play out a battle royale game. What they have to do is to reach a safe zone within one hour, but to get there, they have to escape the hungry dinosaurs and one another, while solving puzzles and overcoming the tricks the game throws their way. The sole survivor gets full pardon, and they all wear a neck brace that will cause their heads to go boom when the light goes red. The whole thing sounds dreadfully like it is ripped off from other movies, and it is.
Nearly all the contestants are all such one-dimensional clichés that it is easy to guess early on their fates. That Japanese guy? Knows martial arts and will die trying to do a karate show on some dinosaurs. The Russians? Villains. The black guy and the Mexican? All fodder. There are two women here, so of course only one will live longer, and that’s the one who gets the more screen time and has the most interactions with the most obvious hero character ever – the one whose being placed on death row is a “controversial decision” and whose son and daughter insist on TV that he is wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder. The only vaguely interesting character is the feisty female character I’ve mentioned just now whose moral compass is far more screwed up that one would expect from such an archetype. Ryan Merriman, whose agent must really hate him, plays the slimy and overly cocky host with some gusto, but his role is a bit too pushed to the background for the most of the movie to leave much of an impact.
But the star of the show has to be the truly awful CGI, which is arguably justified by how they can’t have much gore as the whole thing is a TV show watched by people of all ages. Still, the effects are horrible to look at, due to how fake and amateurish they are. The death scenes are horrifying in how someone actually approved them in their tacky CGI glory.
Maybe with another few million dollars, The Jurassic Game may be a halfway decent copycat movie, although to be fair, it also has its few share of interesting twists and turns towards the end. However, it never stands a chance due to how bad it looks and how terribly fake the whole thing is. Seriously, these characters are fighting and rolling around, but the clothes they wear remain suspiciously clean and in good order no matter what. It’s as if this movie were only a quarter-way into post-production when someone realized they had run out of money and said, ah screw it, let’s just release this thing and go have a sandwich instead. This one is best reserved for the friends and family members of the people involved in this thing.