Games" on DVD
A Rudy Wakening
by Johnny Bray
Nick is not Nick.
Nick is actually Rudy, but he tells the bad guys hes Nick so they
wont kill him. However, he told them about eight thousand times
that he was actually Rudy, and not Nick, but they think hes Nick
anyway because theyre the bad guys and therefore stupid. They dont
realize that Nick is actually dead, and Rudy was just pretending to be
Nick so he could get Ashley in the sack.
So now Rudy is stuck playing Nick, even though he doesnt have the
slightest idea what hes talking about. Fortunately, hes the
smartest ex-con on the planet and can manage to figure out exactly what
Nick had done years before, though they had never discussed it.
Sound a bit confusing? Try watching the movie.
By directing Ronin, one would have thought that John Frankenheimer had
come back to us, after leaving us all with a bitter aftertaste from The
Island of Dr. Moreau (excuse me while I shudder).
Nick and Rudy are three days away from getting out of the slammer. Nick
has been writing to Ashley for six months, and has three million pictures
of her on the wall beside his bed (not that we can blame him).
All he wants to do when he gets out, is to -- well, you know -- with
Rudy, setting his sights high, is happy with a cup of hot chocolate and
some pecan pie. This becomes the premise of the movies running gag.
After Nick is killed in a cafeteria riot, Rudy gets out and assumes his
identity in order to -- well, you know -- with Ashley.
But after a few days of living the semi-high life, Nick and
Ashley are blackmailed by Ashleys older brother, Gabriel (a pretty
wimpy name for such a tough guy, I must say).
All Gabriel wants is for Nick to help him rob a casino. Nothing unreasonable
Ben Affleck is Nick (or Rudy, or whoever he is), and tries far too hard
to be funny rather than heroic. Gary Sinise plays Gabriel, and Charlize
Theron (the best part of the movie by far) plays Ashley.
The biggest flaw with Reindeer Games is that it tries to be an action,
comedy, suspense, thriller, romance, and everything else, all at the same
time. This, of course, makes it difficult to be any one of them successfully.
Sadly enough, the best part of the movie is the credits. No, theres
nothing special about them, youre just so sick of watching the movie
that they are a very pleasant sight.
The film has a lot of twists and turns throughout its duration,
as well as a James Bond-style ending in which the bad guys reveal everything
about their plans. In this case, the plans are a lot more absurd than
in the Bond movies (now theres a frightening thought).
On top of that, the plan takes sooooooooooo unbelievably long to explain;
meaning of course, that the writers know you wont be able to understand
it so they figure theyll help you out. By the end, youre left
saying okay, whatever, not caring that its the most
ridiculous thing youve ever heard.
After seeing Ronin, I really wanted to see Frankenheimers next
movie, not realizing it was going to be this.
Your time would be better spent watching reruns of your least favorite
The DVD is in widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 TV's, as well as Pan&Scan,
and both versions get Dolby Digital audio; the audio and video quality
are very good. Extras include a running commentary from director Frankenheimer,
a featurette, and the trailer.
Reindeer Games, from Alliance Atlantis Home Video
103 min. widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 compatible, and Pan&Scan, Dolby
Starring Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron
Produced by Marty Katz, Bob Weinstein, Chris Moore
Written by Ehren Kruger, Directed by John Frankenheimer.
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