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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Movie Review: Poker Night

How much of your job training do you think you could remember when your life depended on it? In December 2014, Jetter got caught up in the moment that could cost him... his life.

Directing this 104 minute action/crime/thriller is Greg Francis.

Some of the cast is: Beau Mirchoff as Jeter, Halston Sage as Amy, Ron Perlman as Calabrese, Giancarlo Esposito as Bernard, Corey Large as Davis, Tutius Welliver as Maxwell, Ron Eldard as Cunningham and Michael Eklund as Masked Man.

Detective Stan Jeter, who was just promoted to detective, gets an invite to sit in on a poker game with some veteran cops.  Some good job advice gets thrown around the table, along with money and cards.
All the men sitting around the table are trying to pass on all they've learned while on the job.  Hopefully, Jeter was paying attention because, unbeknownst to him, pretty soon he's going to be using all that knowledge if he wants to escape from the masked man that's captured him.

I hadn't even heard of this one before. Truthfully, the only reason I caught this one was because of the cast. When I saw Perlman, Esposito,Welliver, Eldard, Munro and Eklund in the lineup, I had to check it out. I still dug the cast, but was a bit disappointed by the flick.

Writer/directer Greg Francis gave us a story about a cop and a twisted bad guy. Now, that's nothing really new as far as story lines go, but the way the story plays out was kind of interesting. Francis tries his hand at giving the story bits of mystery and misdirect, and some of them work, but most of them fail because you can see them coming.
                                                                 

The playthrough held my attention - more out of curiosity than honest interest or enjoyment. The longer I watched it, the less I cared about the main character Jeter. The (short) back stories we get from the other officers were actually more interesting than the main story. The only really good thing this flick had going for it was when Eklund's (the masked man) back story was given. It was twisted  (can't have a bad guy back story any other way) but also funny to watch. Sadly, the movie tries to do this whole mind game/Saw (the beginners years) thing and falls short. I liked the transitions from back stories to main story and thought everything flowed well together.

The cast was good, but I thought the co-stars (Perlman, Esposito, Munro,Welliver and Eldard) did a better job (in their smaller parts) than Mirchoff did as the main star. Eklund however, who is a very underrated star, not only carriers his weight as the bad guy, but makes being a bad guy look fun.

Brant McIlroy and Lewis Wu did bring some good special effects to the table.

Overall, this is one of those films that has a few cool things, but nothing that makes it worth catching.

It's rated UR (unrated) but has language and violence.

2 stars


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