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A bunch of city slickers from different backgrounds go into the wild mountains to be one with nature, but basically to have a good time. However, a paramilitary group has chosen the same time to go camping. When one of the soldiers thinks their boss has been killed by one of the city slickers, he coaxes his team into exterminating all of them. They will have to rely on their wits and on each other in order to survive. Written by
Steve Richer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cult filmmaker Don Coscarelli has brought us such films as the "Phantasm" Tetralogy, "The Beastmaster" and "Bubba Ho-Tep" but a film he did in the last 80s seemed to go by mostly unnoticed and maybe it was thought to be the usual routine woodland survival outing. In some regards this survival adventurer is, but what makes this one work is the fighting character dynamics, a thoughtful script and the always dependable Lance Henriksen. "Survival Quest" follows a group of strangers (one just happening to be an ex-convict played by Dermont Mulroney) from the city battling the wilderness in the North Rockies Survival Quest School led by their resourceful instructor Frank (Henriksen). However nearby is another group (paramilitary), lead by an aggressively hard-nose and demanding instructor (played by Mark Rolston with cynically great ticker). These two schools / groups are at total opposites (extremely so -- one relying on trust while the other sees fit to only look after one's own self) to each other in what they teach (one to embrace your surrounding while the other to dominate in its forceful actions) and from that an encounter occurs where it becomes a struggle to stay alive for Frank's group against an armed, unstable squad (Steve Antin is good as the instigator). The plot slowly hangs off its characters --- building up relationships, developing mindsets (cementing self-confidence) so when it gradually builds up to its explosive confrontations and then the trek becomes a bloody survival course it really pulls you in as you put some much time into the characters that you want to see them get through it. What starts of as a battle against mother nature (what looks beautiful can just be as dangerous), becomes something much more. As their training comes into play, as their team morale to not leave anybody behind which drives them home. Its good to have strength and stamina, but it's nothing without spirit and that's the difference between the two groups. " it's a matter of heart. Not hardware." To use and respect the power of your surroundings/the wilderness to adapt. Writer / director Coscarelli's resiliently tight direction commendably balances out the character developing staples and the excitingly tension-fuelled cat and mouse exchanges. Some witty scenes are a nice cover too. Another striking attraction would be that of the rugged, but eye-catching locations which is always scenically shot. The performances can feel a little awkward, but it's a likable bunch with Catherine Keener, Traci Lind, Dominic Hoffman, Paul Provenza and a special guest appearance by Reggie Bannister. A fine, under-seen terrain adventure caper.
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