13 Directed by: Géla Babluani Starring: Sam Riley, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham Rating: R Release Date: October 28, 2011 (limited)
TRAILER SCORE: 4/10
Thoughts by TSR: You know, people, there’s this stigma against direct-to-video movies that I don’t think is entirely fair. There are plenty of perfectly watchable direct-to-video releases and this movie seems right in line with – hmm? What’s that you say? This remake of the French film 13 Tzameti isn’t going direct-to-video? Surely it isn’t getting a theatrical release! It is? Oh dear.
It seems redundant nowadays for a director to remake his own film. That isn’t to say I immediately dislike the practice. I rather like both versions of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, but that probably speaks more to my love of Haneke as a director than anything else. Now writer/director Géla Babluani is getting into the business of remaking his own films. I’ve never seen the original French version, so I can’t say how closely this remake compares, but based on this trailer I don’t think I’ll be seeing the English-language version of 13 either. The main idea – high stakes Russian roulette gambling – is almost interesting, if a little thin, but the execution seems lacking. It may be difficult to create tension in less than two minutes, but that doesn’t mean it is okay I felt none during the trailer. The footage came off as silly in a lot of parts where I feel like I was supposed to be feeling the tension the characters are surely experiencing.
One thing the film does have going for it is a relatively strong cast. Sam Riley hasn’t been in a lot, but he is fantastic in 2007’s Control. He looks decent here as the young man who finds himself in the middle of this game. Ray Winstone, Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke are all actors I like. I hate to see Winstone and Rourke slumming in stuff like this, but they might help add something akin to quality. Unfortunately, bad movies are starting to look par for the course for Rourke. 13 simply looks like another bad film in Rourke’s post-Oscar nomination career. Michael Shannon showing up playing the lunatic ringleader was a nice surprise - his appearance was the surprise, not him being crazy. Of course, like the rest of the trailer, the cast isn’t all good: Rapper-turned-actor 50 Cent is involved. I think that just about sums it up.