Wednesday, November 18, 2015

THE BADGER GAME (2014) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Intervision Picture Corp

Release Date: November 24th 2015 
Region Code: Region-FREE 
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 99 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen 
Dirctors: Joshua Wagner, Thomas Zambeck
Cast: Augie Duke, Patrick Cronen, Jillian Leight, Sam Boxleitner, Sasha Higgins 

The Badger Game (2014) in black comedy about a group of bickering friends and their poorly conceived kidnap slash extortion plan, as devised by Alex (Augie Duke) and Jane (Sasha Higgins) who are none to pleased to find out they are the side girls of a wealthy businessman named Liam (Sam Boxleitner). They devise a plan to kidnap him and extort a large amount of money from him, to that end they enlist the help of a down-on-her-luck friend  Shelly (Jillian Leigh), who sports a polka-dot dress and picks the guy up at a local bar. 

Also enlisted in this plan is Alex's brother Kip (Patrick Cronen), a former pest exterminator, who is brought in as the strong-arm of the group. No sooner have they gotten this guy back to their garage and bound him to a chair when things begin to quickly fall apart and never seem to get back on track, which so often happens with these sort of movie, I am thinking of like-minded movie like The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) and The Cottage (2008) while I am watching this, though this has a more low-budget feel to it. 

The writing is keen with some good sharp dialogue exchanges between the victim and the kidnappers and among the kidnappers themselves, who in the expected fashion begin to tun on one another and some subtle and not so subtle betrayals begin to arise. Out four kidnappers are a fun bunch, Alex is the jilted lover, Jane is a Brit-stripper/recovering drug addict, Liam proves difficult to control and Shelly seems in a little over her head in this crime-caper gone wrong. When Liam proves to be more than a handful things begin to crumble, even more so when a snoopy private eye arrives on scene with his own devious plan, throwing a wrench into the works.

The comedy adds up to a lot of fun, the sense of humor is dark and twisted, while the violence tends to be sparse a few of the scenes got under my skin. Male nipple trauma and a garden tool to the face were among the items that got to me, and given that the film relies more on the comedy of blunders and catty dialogue the few moments of violence work particularly well. There are very few people to root for here, the victim seems like a right douche nozzle, and the kidnappers have a few too many character flaws to embrace, but there's at least one person who at least is not loathsome to nth degree, and its fun to see who's left standing at the end of the day. 

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Directors Joshua Wagner and Thomas Zambeck, and Composer London May
- Audio Commentary with stars Augie Duke, Jillian Leigh, and Sasha Higgins
- Cast and Crew Interviews from the premiere in Downtown LA

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, theres some decent suspense and the humor is plenty dark, just the way I like it, plus the cast all turn in solid performances across the board. Fans of low-budget dark comedies should have fun with this one, so grab some popcorn and a few brews, curl up on the couch, and enjoy. 3/5