13 (2010)

(On Cable TV, March 2014) There’s a familiar-but-intriguing premise at the heart of 13, as a down-on-his-luck young man discovers a secret society of rich gamblers betting on desperate people playing Russian roulette against each other. It’s got class commentary built into a rich suspense framework, which is usually more than enough for a respectable little thriller. Add actors such as Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and Michael Shannon and you can almost expect something good. Unfortunately, the result is remarkably underwhelming. The slow pacing doesn’t help, nor does the somewhat indifferent lead character or the gratuitously drawn-out nihilistic ending. While this is an American remake of acclaimed low-budget Georgian thriller 13 Tzameti, I’m not sure Hollywood is to blame for the lack of energy, as writer/director Géla Babluani helmed both films, and plot summaries from both versions seem more or less identical. The marquee actors don’t add much, as they show up for scarcely more than secondary roles. 13 simply feels more annoying than thrilling, and considerably duller than its sharp premise suggests. No matter the premise, all is in the execution and this one is botched.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *