In part a techno take on Battle Royale or The Hunger Games, and in part a musing on mankind’s quest for eternal youth, RPG is a film high on ideas, but less so in terms of actual quality.

It’s still definitely worth a watch, and at 100 minutes far from outstays its welcome.

Set ‘in the near future’ (which merely forces the makers into using some dodgy CGI), the film centres around aging billionaire Steve Battier (Rutger Hauer), who is suffering through his final days in a state of crippling pain.

Battier is offered the chance to do something about it though via a shady organisation who offer wealthy individuals the chance to have their brain ‘transported’ into a 23-year-old body of their choosing, while prone at a clinic.

The catch though is that Battier will be joined by nine other individuals from round the world, each looking for the same thrill.

What they don’t realise though, is that all ten of them will be dropped into a staged environment and asked to not only fight to the death, but identify which 23-year-old corresponds to which real-life body (men can choose women and vice-versa).

Anybody expecting a Battle Royale-esque bloodbath will be sorely disappointed, as RPG delivers its kills in very quick fashion, with more time spent to talky scenes and even a couple of shags thrown in for good measure.

All that would be great if those characters had something interesting to say, but a lot of the time they don’t – leading to an undeniable wish for the film to speed things up a little.

Performances wise RPG is a real mixed bag – Hauer adds his usual gravitas, while Cian Barry plays a solid lead as the 23-year-old ‘Steve’.

The female leads do not fare as well in comparison, with Genevieve Capovilla in particular intensely annoying, although Dafne Fernandez is extremely pleasing on the eye it must be said.

Co-directed by Portuguese pair Tino Navarro and David Rebordao, who produce a few nice flourishes every now and again, the film definitely suffers from ‘foreign film crowbarred into being in English’ malaise, with some stilted dialogue and awkward delivery throughout.

In fact, RPG solidly heads towards two-star territory before a cheeky conclusion throws the whole thing up a notch and at least leaves you thinking as the credits roll.

To be fair, that climax does leave things on a high – it’s just a shame what went before it.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.