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: Some of the most haunting scenes in all of cinema's long history include those from The Deer Hunter , as we watch Robert De Niro come to terms with his friends slide into the world of gambling on Russian roulette. The images of a dead-eyed Christopher Walken (in that absurd bandana) holding a gun to his head are so raw, so stark that it was only a matter of time before someone decided they'd make a great foundation for a whole film.
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.
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.
Conclusion: I still don't love the movie, but Apollo 13 is a crowd-pleaser with plenty of fans. The HD DVD offers pretty good picture, sound, and bonus features. I'll give it a mild recommendation, with the understanding that for many people it will rate highly recommended. What Do You Think?