Directors Tino Navarro and David Rebordao team up in the new sci-fi thriller RPG. Set in ‘the near future’ with some touch screen desks and egg shell chairs, the film follows ageing multi-millionaire Steve Battier (played by Rutger Hauer) as he is given the offer of a lifetime.
In a world with floating cars and extravagant clothing it seems only natural that they have found biotechnologies neural cellular answer to mans oldest aspiration – eternal youth (About time). Battier is lucky enough to be chosen for the project, with a large fee of course, that will allow him to live in the body of a young man again for ten hours. The only catch is that there are rules, only one can survive and one person must die every hour.
Following on the coat tails of bigger movies such as Hunger Games and Divergent the film takes a shot at the current trend of a future society setting young people against each other for the benefit of somebody else. An idea so used up and churned out over the past few years that unfortunately Real Playing Game won’t be topping any leader boards.
The film takes an interesting approach to the human survival instinct that other films of the genre passed over. The characters don’t remember anything about themselves when they wake up in their younger bodies and are unprepared for the tournament. After being explained the rules of the game they are filled with doubt and disgust for about forty minutes before one of them makes the first move. They all slowly decline into bloodlust, even Battier who is largely resilient to killing anyone for most of the film.
The un-engaging script leaves a lot to be desired throughout the film, sometimes sounding a little forced to get the scene rolling and going for the obvious puns like ‘another hour to kill’. This combined with an eerie 80’s soundtrack that could give the Terminator a run for its money gives RPG a kind of short film atmosphere that holds the audience at arm’s length. You can see what Narravo and Rebordao were aiming for but unfortunately it didn’t quite hit the mark.
RPG’s saving grace would be the cast of unknown actors, giving it a freedom to turn the sex and violence up a notch. Naturally, when a group of young and attractive people are together then before long couples are sneaking off to a quiet corner or in this case an empty outdoor swimming pool, even good guy Battier gets his share of hanky-panky. However sexual tension soon turns to extreme violence as the characters all meet a grizzly end one way or another, with players fried by an electric fence, beaten with a sharp rock and stabbed with a broken bottle the film certainly packs a punch.
If sci-fi thrillers are your thing then definitely give RPG a go. It certainly meets all the requirements of the fight-to-the-death genre that is dominating our cinema right now, but be prepared as it is in no way at the top of its game.