Working as an editor at a previous job, I found myself revising a manuscript that was supposed to become a new piece of education put out by the company. It was written by my boss' friend. My boss had told me the writer had used a couple of other texts for reference on the same subject, so he gave me those books as well. After a few pages, I realized the author of the manuscript had pulled all the usual tricks of a high school student who had totally forgotten he had a paper due the next morning. He'd changed names, numbers, and synonyms, but it was obvious; he had plagiarized the entire book, start to finish.
Which brings me to this review...
See, the unimaginative nature of this movie doesn't stop at its mundane-as-hell title. 'Guns, Girls, and Gambling' is a complete and utter rip-off of 'Lucky Number Slevin.' I don't know how else to say it. It's the exact same movie, except terribly executed. If you told me that writer/director Michael Winnick had never seen 'Lucky Number Slevin' I'd call you a liar and refuse to ever speak to you again.
You know when Asylum piggy-backs off of multi-million dollar movie franchises with horrible knock-offs like 'Transmorphers'? That's what this feels like. It's the Asylum version of 'Lucky Number Slevin', only with a few more recognizable faces in the mix.
Christian Slater plays John Smith, who is inherently Josh Hartnet's character from 'Slevin'. Smith is down on his luck and finds himself in the middle of a wacky heist after entering an Elvis impersonation contest at an Indian casino.
There are two bosses (sound familiar?), The Chief and The Rancher (Powers Boothe). I mean they even have generic bad guy names like The Boss and The Rabbi from 'Slevin'. Honestly, the similarities only increase the further into the movie you go.
Smith soon ends up at an apartment that's not his and is greeted by a spunky, cute next door neighbor (yes, I know, it's getting a little too eerie right?) who ends up following him around on his adventure simply because it sounds fun.
Winnick attempts the same quick-witted, lightning-fast conversations, but most of the dialogue falls on its proverbial ass. The movie has three running gags, neither of which are funny. Still, it beats us over the head with an onslaught of supposed jokes about little people being called "midgets," and Native Americans being called "Indians."
It's true that plot devices are used over and over in movies because they're convenient and move the story along. This is more than that though. This is a complete hijack of one story. Names and dialogue have been changed, but the story's the same. Right down to the big reveal, that you'll know if you've seen 'Slevin'. There's no attempt to build on the story structure or create anything new. There's a bigger heist going on here than the one in the movie.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Universal has released this with one 50GB disc. It comes in a standard keepcase that is equipped with a slipcover.
Despite the unoriginality shown in the movie itself, Universal sure shows tender loving care to this 1080p transfer. The show sorely lacks the sumptuous visuals that 'Slevin' produced, but it does look rather good in high definition.
Barring a few scenes of underfunded CG animation, the rest of the movie has great detail and life to it. Close-ups offer as much facial and textual details as one could hope for. From the jeweled stones on the various Elvis costumes, to the scruffy stubble of Slater's unshaved face, detail shines.
Colors really pop. Reds are strong, followed closely by the earthy tones of the surrounding desert that the characters find themselves in. Contrast is dead on. Even when the bright desert sun is burning down on everyone, it doesn't end up washing out faces or detail. The movie may be terrible, but it looks good.
Here we have a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that isn't quite as impressive as the video presentation. Its solid in its own right, there just isn't anything that will specifically attract your attention. Instead the audio mix for 'Guns, Girls, and Gambling', provides a steady mix without any frills.
Action scenes seem rather muted here. Gunshots don't have as much oomph or life as they do in other shoot'em up movies. Here they sound hollow and soft. Dialogue is clear though. Rear channels have some ambient noise at times, but there isn't much going on back there for much of the film.
This is a dialogue-heavy movie. Everything is centered up front. Clearly heard dialogue isn't enough for this mix though. With underperforming gunfights and anemic rear involvement it just doesn't seem like it's as good as it could have been.
There are no special features included, save for a few Universal trailers.
There seems to have been no attempt to even thinly veil the appearance that 'Guns, Girls, and Gambling' is 'Lucky Number Slevin' with different names, different locations, sub-par humor, and Dane Cook. Needless to say, this movie isn't worth your time at all. Instead, pop in the better version of it and forget this one even attempted to exist.