Double Feature: The Precipice Game (2016) & The Loft (2014)

And we are back to regular programming!

I have a few outstanding movies to review. Lets just hope I still remember them enough to write about them. First up is a double for two thriller-esque movies, a Chinese thriller set on a cruise ship The Precipice Game and a thriller with some well-known actors that I like called The Loft.

Lets check it out!

The Precipice Game (2016)

precipice game

Director: Zao Wang

Cast: Ruby Lin, Peter Ho, Mr. Black, Scar Kim, Wang Ji, Li Lin, Li Shangyi, Gai Yuexi

Liu Chenchen, a free-spirited young woman, rebels against her wealthy family and elopes with her boyfriend to join a cruise-bond treasure hunt. But what began as an innocent game with promises of great reward soon turns into a battle for survival when the contestants are thrown into a mysterious world of intrigue and chaos in the middle of the sea.-IMDB

The Precipice Game can really only be categorized as a thriller because of its twisty ending which while doesn’t seem to hint at it too much, you start somewhat suspecting the possibility of it all no matter how extremely ridiculous it seems. Now may be a good time to emphasize for those unfamiliar that the term Chinese films differ from Hong Kong films and I make that difference not because I particularly emphasize on my love for Hong Kong but because the film industry was established and progressed differently before the handover in 1997 and the themes and styles still differ immensely. It also goes to say that I’m still fairly new to the Chinese movies that are not from Hong Kong and therefore am frequently unfamiliar with the cast, this movie being somewhat of an exception because the actor and actress here is the reason I even gave The Precipice Game a chance.

the precipice game

The Precipice Game isn’t  all bad. They draw inspiration on different Hollywood films perhaps and while it all seems ambitious, it does try the best to get the tone down. The Precipice Game also has a decent cast however, suffers from having too many characters and really giving time for 2 or 3 characters to have the spotlight. Adding on the fact that some do overact a little on a film that is really quite serious makes it all the more frustrating to watch. There are scenes that will remind you of Saw a little (without the extreme body horror) and it gets the whole playing the game thing going on. Perhaps its strength is the cruise ship setting, giving it the tight corridors and similar paths easily making it claustrophobic and hard to maneuver.

The Precipice Game didn’t give me any thrills but the I did like some of the characters and wished they had more time to drive the suspense than  just keep a death tally on people that we didn’t particularly care about. It may be the bitterness I have after watching Saw and being fed up of the “lets play a game” except these people were dumb enough to join into a vague game to win a big prize but my common sense took over where if I saw it was a weird host and an empty cruise ship, my danger receptors would sound off and I would choose to just leave. However, I am aware that people, especially in movies, make a lot of dumb choices.

Fairly average and quite predictable, even its decent cast couldn’t quite save it. It does have a twist ending so maybe you want to see this to see if you can figure it out.

The Loft (2014)

the loft

Director: Erik Van Looy

Cast: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor

Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved. – IMDB

I wanted to like The Loft so much. I’m not a fan of the premise to begin with. I mean, married men who believe they need a place to have their affairs. Suffice to say, The Loft should have been a character study of these different men. However, the cast here is amazing. If we didn’t have this cast, I might have turned off the movie and never finished it. Really what falls apart is the story and the dialogue. It seems this was a remake of a European thriller and I’ll probably try to hunt that one down one day since I do think there’s something interesting here.

the loft

There isn’t much to say about this one. I’m fairly indifferent to it. There are some pacing issues and it tries to mesh the investigation afterwards with what happened and then doing flashback and current and the story does seem to jump around quite a bit. To be fair, some of the characters here aren’t really bad in nature however, this is one of those stories where you don’t really want to cheer for anyone but its really wondering who did it, who is lying and what secrets do they have all hidden away.

The Loft didn’t offer any thrills. It never hit the erotic part of what it seemed to want to do either and then it never has compelling enough characters and dialogue to keep it suspenseful. Its fall short in so many ways that its quite below average. 

This wraps up the lackluster thriller double feature of The Loft and The Precipice Game.
Both have things they do right and they have the potential to be good but for various reasons, it just falls flat making them both average and  forgettable.

Have you seen these two?