BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

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Played
DVD disk
08.24.2007 By: Jason Adams
Played order
Director:
Sean Stanek

Actors:
Mick Rossi
Vinnie Jones
Val Kilmer

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A small time crook unwittingly takes the fall for a botched robbery in order to protect a crooked cop. After spending eight years in the slammer, he quietly begins working his way back in to the criminal underworld, biding his time ‘til he can get his revenge.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I was kind of excited when I got PLAYED to review. Never heard of it before, but c’mon…a British gangster movie starring Vinnie Jones, Gabriel Byrne and Val Kilmer? Sign me up.

But it was lies. All lies. Bullet Tooth Tony is a very minor character. Byrne has a thirty second bit part. And Val Kilmer is barely in the movie for three minutes. (It’s a great tres minutos though.) The main star of PLAYED is actually some newcomer named Mick Rossi, who co-wrote the movie and isn’t exactly the most charismatic actor. I haven’t been this disappointed or misled since my last date.

Maybe if the movie was any good I could get over such outright trickery. I can understand if some guy wants to play up the more famous actors who supported him in an effort to get a genuinely worthy flick seen by the masses. Unfortunately, PLAYED is not worthy of such treatment. It’s merely a rehash of every recent British crime movie, complete with supposedly cool characters and catchy nicknames, filthy dialogue and the requisite twists and double crosses. Think a more boring and less stylized version of SNATCH, or an obtuse and unpolished LAYER CAKE wannabe.

Granted, the film was obviously made on a very, very low budget, but that should be an opportunity to let the filmmakers’ creativity and ingenuity shine. Instead, we get a feature length mess that smacks of being made up as it goes along, not to mention a story that takes massive detours. When Ray gets out of jail it sets things up fairly well; he needs to get himself resituated, get his girl back and confront the bastards who set him up. So naturally he leaves England and goes to the United States to do an odd job that takes up three quarters of the movie’s running time, before returning to London at the very end to tie up the plot. If you want to try and improvise a script (which is apparently what they did), at least come up with an outline first.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by co-writer/star Mick Rossi: There’s a lot of pauses and silence, but Rossi does offer one interesting piece of trivia: When Kilmer’s character takes a call from his mom, it was because Kilmer’s actual mother called when he was filming and the man stayed in character while talking to her.

Behind the Scenes (14:04): Gabriel Byrne: “I said, ‘What’s the script?’ And he said, ‘We don’t have one yet.’” That’s probably the most useful bit of information I got out of this set of interviews, as it confirms my original theory.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you see PLAYED in the video store, remember this: out of the four people on the cover, only one of them is actually in the movie longer than five minutes. And it’s not the one you want.

Extra Tidbit: This is Bruno Kirby’s last movie. I’ll prefer to remember him in stuff like WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and not PLAYED.
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