Excerpt: Vince is an electrician who’s family is going through a rough time. The hospital bills for dad are piling up and the family is about to lose their home when Vince overhears a customer talking about earning a buttload of money in only one day. When the man overdoses on drugs, Vince finds a letter with instructions and a cell phone the man received. Vince decides to substitute himself for the guy in the hopes he can earn the money himself and save his family’s future.
Conclusion: Géla Babluani directs his own remake in '13,'which tells the tale of the participants in a terrifying game of chance — a ghastly, twisted version of Russian roulette. Starring Ray Winstone, Mickey Rourke, Jason Stratham, and Curtis Jackson, the story is supposed to follow Sam Riley's naïve character, but tries too hard to incorporate minor subplots into the mix. The film has its moments, but ultimately fails to deliver the overall impact it aims for.
Summary: You know that a film has done its job when you find yourself asking those “what if” questions when it’s over. You can’t help but ask yourself what you might do in the same situation. There’s plenty of water cooler philosophy to take from this one. If you should find this one at your local video store, “You should count yourself lucky.
Excerpt: Making a film about the cutthroat world of Russian Roulette is a little like making a gambling thriller about the card game War. In both the gameplay is so brutally simple that strategy and skill don’t play much of a part. Sure, statistical considerations and laws of probability come into play, but it really comes down to blind luck.
Summary: Arguably not since "The Vanishing" has a director remade his foreign-language breakout feature to such diminishing returns as with "13," Gela Babluani's Americanized reworking of his "13 Tzameti" (2006).
Excerpt: Pro tip to underground Russian roulette gamblers: Don’t discuss your plans or the multi-millions you’re ready to inherit with the electrician working in the the next room. People with sense have such discussions in private. Where would 13 be if that chatter didn’t happen? Nowhere, because it wouldn’t exist, this remake of a French film ditching the artsy facade for something a little more marketable, namely Jason Statham.
Conclusion: 13 is a pretty darn good little movie. It manages to elicit an incredible amount of tension even if much of it is both predictable and repetitive. It does offer a satisfying twist ending, though some of the character's tactics defy logic (trusting the USPS with a precious package? Ha ha, that's a good one). Still, Director Géla Babluani does a very good job getting the most out of the material, and he should, considering it's basically his second time making the movie.