Reindeer Games 4/10
Reindeer Games (R) 2000
Reviewer’s Tilt (8)
Special DVD Features worth a look- None
Reindeer Games involves a gang of gunrunners forcing an ex-con to help them with a casino heist. Director John Frankenheimer fills the film with action and tension, Gary Sinise plays the gang leader with rugged style, and Charlize Theron infuses the sweet-smiled love interest with a wry malevolence. A bad script, however, undercuts these valiant efforts, leaving little of value in its wake. Ben Affleck plays the ex-con, coming off a six-year stint in the “big house” looking and acting like a cocky frat boy. It would seem to me that that coping that kind of attitude in prison would get you a starring role as some bad man’s boyfriend, but I could be wrong. This flaw, however, is just one of many in the ridiculous script. The action scenes are great, but are constantly interrupted for a Batman/Joker style explanation of why everyone did what they did, and why they are about to do what they are about to do. In one scene, Affleck’s character “hotwires” a hotel door in seconds, leaving no trace of tampering. The script explains this feat as merely a minor extrapolation of his automobile hotwiring prowess. Whether or not such a maneuver is even possible, let alone capable of being accomplished with such aplomb, by someone who has never tried it, this scene, and many like it, distracts you for several minutes as you contemplate their implausibility. The film contains many such minor flaws, and numerous major ones. To explain the major flaws, however, would give too much away. Just do not anticipate the conclusion wrapping up all of the loose ends, or even providing the story with a plausible explanation. If you can check reason at the door, Frankenheimer’s action sequences are entertaining. Otherwise, this film has little to offer.
Format: Color, Widescreen Anamorphic, Fullscreen pan and scan, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)Extras: Director commentary, deleted scenes, “Making of” featurette, trailer.