Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Card Player (2004)

Hello everyone, my name is Matthew, and I'm an alcoholic.  I'm also an avid movie watcher and will be writing words and stuff on the blog about movies that I watch that I find scary and frightening, which I believe is step one of my twelve step process for that other problem I have.  I hope we can all have a fun time and I promise my debilitating addiction to nature's sweetest nectar will only be a problem no more that 50% of the time.  Cheers!

Tonight's terror tale is a little gem called The Card Player, a 2004 movie written and directed by Dario Argento, and starring a bunch of Italians horribly dubbed into English.  FYI, is used the word gem ironically, which is also ironic, because both gems and iron are mined, so you'd think...oh, never mind, stupid tangent.  Anyways, The Card Player is basically about a serial killer who kidnaps women, then hosts an online poker game with the police for the life of the girl.  The police win, girl gets let go, killer wins...well, he is a killer after all.

For the first half hour, I wasn't really feeling too good about the movie, but I started wondering if maybe I was being to harsh on it and should just ignore it's flaws.  The acting was pretty poor (at least the dubbing was), dialog was crap, storyline kind of lame, but was it really any worse that Argento's 70's and 80's films?  I love Suspira, Deep Red, Bird with the Crystal Plummage, and a bunch of his others, why wasn't I liking this one as much.  It may have not had the great style of those film, but it's got a lot of other things in common with his other movies, and lots of other 70's Giallo for that matter. 
(If you don't know what Giallo is, you're probably a moron)  Luckily, the first "poker" scene happened and I knew I wouldn't have to dig to deep to analyze this one cuz the terrible movie juice just exploded all over the screen like a volcano.

Earlier, I told you that the Killer hosts and online poker game for the life of the girl.  What comes to your 2004 mind when poker is brought up?  TEXAS HOLD 'EM, that's what.  Casino Royale came out two years after this one, celebrity tournaments where coming out the yin yang, all that good stuff.  Too bad Dario decided to not go that route, and instead decided to literally just have each player dealt five cards, discard, and draw back up to five and whoever has the better hand wins! Isn't that exciting, everyone?  It's just like that haggard old smoking woman at the casino, cool!  Congratulations on having your finger on the pulse of the gaming world, Dario, unfortunately you misdiagnosed your dead uncle and now you have a rotting corpse in the house.  So now you have a room full of policemen standing around a computer screen watch electronic cards flip over, and let me tell you, the graphical effects of the flipping cards is so lame and takes so long that I couldn't stop laughing at this stupid crap.  I mean, this concept is bungled so badly its embarrassing.  Not only that, they recruit this young man, because they see him winning at a computer poker machine in some bar.  What???  Uh, he's got nothing to bring to this scenario, guys.  All the policemen start clapping when he holds a pair of 2's, then get's another 2 on the draw and wins the hand.  Holy Jesus, what would they have done without him??

My sponsor is telling me not to be so negative, so here's somethings I actually liked.  During on of the poker scenes, the kidnapped girl gets out of her restraints and tries to get away.  The police are all watching this on webcam  and start rooting for the girl when she attacks the killer.  I found a room full of completely helpless trained police men cheering on a potential murder victim to get away to be really hilarious.  Also, wouldn't it have been some much funner if they were actually betting on each hand?  Maybe the cops raise the killer a finger of toe or something, so the killer then raises them his own foot, then the cops raise him the girls head or something?  How much more exciting would that have been?

Anyways, spoiler alert: the movie sucks.  The final scene is literally the main girl and the killer handcuffed to the railroad tracks (with the key right in front of them, btw), playing poker together on a laptop as a speeding train is coming.  And get this, the bad guy gets a ROYAL FLUSH, but the girl gets a A-1-2-3-4 straight flush and exclaims that she won, uncuffs herself, and the bad guy gets run over.  Uh, how does her straight flush beat his royal flush?  Maybe they were playing Sicily Hold 'Em or something.

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