REVIEW: The Gambler (2014) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: The Gambler (2014)


Runtime: 111 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Slow and unsatisfactory ‘thriller’, with Wahlberg annoying more than entertaining

Forty years ago James Caan appeared in a solid drama/thriller, The Gambler.  Now they’ve remade it with Mark Wahlberg, although the word remake isn’t thrown around much for it, that’s quietly what it is.  The original is a superior film, I might put a review up of that one to compliment this piece, and if you’re thinking of checking this one out, I’d suggest not wasting your time and going after the James Caan 1974 original instead.

The story follows Mark Walhberg as Jim Bennett, a genius writer with a penchant for ruining large amounts of money by way of gambling.  Such is his addiction that regular casinos don’t cut it and underground venues are the place to go, where criminals wait in the shadows in order to lone money to desperate men like Wahlberg.  Michael K. Williams, aka ‘that guy from The Wire’, and a better actor than Mark Wahlberg, is one such criminal, who fronts Wahlberg $50,000 for 20 points.  Of course Wahlberg can’t return his debt and the story progresses from there.

This is boring movie, worsened by the casting of Mark Wahlberg.  I really don’t like Mark Wahlberg the person, which can be tolerated with people like this if they’re good at what they do, i.e. acting.  But Wahlberg is a mediocre actor at best and a movie like this with a pedestrian script really needs the pulling power of a good actor to keep us interested, Wahlberg is not that man.  The character of Jim Bennett is also pretty much an asshole, I really didn’t care about him.

This is not a terrible film, I mean John Goodman is in there, for anyone interested.  And Williams makes a good antagonist.  However I would not waste money seeking it out.