TV Review: Chase



There have been plenty of previous entertainment projects based on the concept of people trapped inside a video game -- the 1982 feature "Tron" perhaps being the first -- but this Sci Fi Channel project pulls it off perhaps better than all of those who have come before.

This is not necessarily saying a lot. Most of them have been exceedingly lame. But "Chase" at least follows through on its conceit and never varies from the formula, even if we could spend all day picking holes in it. (We'll really pick only one.)

The premise is simple: take 10 human contestants and pit them against one another while being relentlessly stalked by an increasing number of silent, menacing, suit-outfitted "hunters." Think Agent Smith in the "Matrix" series. They're outfitted with backpacks and a couple of weapons and obliged to steer clear of their trackers until an hour passes in real time and make it to an "exit point" first for a $50,000 prize.

The dopey part of this is fairly obvious from watching any two minutes of it. The contestants each have their own personal camera person who captures their ongoing fears, bravado and cunning, depending upon the moment. In other words, if they're hiding from the hunters, so must be their never-acknowledged video recordist. The whole mumbling-to-themselves thing also becomes fairly laughable as the game moves along.

But let it also be said that some creative editing does leave us poised on the edge of our seat as the hunters move after their prey at Los Angeles Harbor. The video game tag competition will continue weekly with a different "game board" at various locales in the Southland. It's actually not a bad idea in these Xbox/PlayStation/Wii times, and as mentioned, the producers pull it off in the debut with a reasonable degree of plausibility and precision.

Oh, just one more thing. "Chase's" budget evidently shrank between the first show's beginning and its conclusion, as the "up to $50,000" became $25,000 for the lone victor at the finish line. It must have taped pre-bailout.