- Get Duked!
- Written and directed by Ninian Doff
- Starring Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon and Eddie Izzard
- Classification R; 87 minutes
Making movies about hunting humans for sport is, if not the most dangerous game, then a mildly annoying one. How many spins can a filmmaker possibly put on a conceit that has been exhausted across genres, from horror (Predator) to kiddie adventure (Big Game) to political satire (Battle Royale) to I-don’t-even-know-what (this past spring’s messy and ridiculous The Hunt)? If there is further evidence necessary to prove that an idea is dead, then just look to Quibi, which released its tepid Most Dangerous Game this past spring.
All that said, the new dark comedy Get Duked! (originally titled Boyz in the Wood) has a semblance of a fresh approach. Taking place in the Scottish Highlands, the film follows four teenage troublemakers who are supposed to be on a camping expedition that transforms them into decent members of society. But when a pair of upper-class hunters come along, claiming to help rid the human race of its ungrateful vermin, the trip turns into a violent battle of societal wits. And rap battles.
Writer-director Ninian Doff has manic energy to spare and enlivens the first two-thirds of his feature debut with all manner of psychedelic graphics and witty soundtrack choices. And his quartet of heroes are thoroughly entertaining, with each young actor giving a performance fuelled by god-knows-what (especially charming is Viraj Juneja, who plays aspiring rapper DJ Beatroot). But once the hour mark hits, it becomes clear that Doff has exhausted his best ideas and enthusiasm dips across the board.
Still, Doff has created a film that bursts off the screen more often than not, albeit in that ultra-extreme Joseph Kahn kind of way. Your mileage may vary, but it’s a good enough game to play these waning summer days.
Get Duked! is available to stream on Amazon Video Prime starting Aug. 28
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