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Reindeer Games (2000)
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Review Date: February 21, 2000
Director: John Frankenheimer
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Producers: Bob Weinstein, Marty Katz, Chris Moore
Actors:
Ben Affleck as Rudy
Charlize Theron as Ashley
Gary Sinise as Gabriel
Plot:
A convict gets out of jail and finally meets the girl that he'd heard so much about during his stint in the big house. Unfortunately for the tender loving duo, the girl's older brother decides to crash their party and blackmail the ex-con into helping him and his gang of hooligans rob the Tomahawk casino.
Critique:
An okay movie with a few decent one-liners, a couple of semi-interesting action sequences and Charlize Theron looking great, is dramatically killed with an ending so ridiculous that it practically washes away the entire entertainment value of its previous ninety minutes. I say "practically" because I do not like to blow a movie off just because "one aspect" of the film didn't click for me, so let me tell you what I did like about this film. First of all, Charlize Theron is now officially a grade A movie star! She's the type of actress that can make you love her no matter what she says, does, wears or doesn't wear. She is a beauty to behold, a solid thespian in her own right and a sparkplug of charisma, all wrapped in one. Fans of Charlize will love her in this film, as will fans of Theron's boobies, which make an uncredited cameo about halfway through the picture. Ben Affleck does an okay job, but his performance in this film won't be putting him on the Brendan Fraser action-hero map anytime soon (To be fair, Big Ben also flashes us some ass during an early sex-scene). And let's not forget Sinise, who fills the shoes of the official "bad guy" pretty well, as well as his tank top, which he fills rather nicely with his newly buffed body. Nice biceps, dude!

So the actors were are all pretty good, the film started with an intriguing shot (Five dead bloody Santa suits spread across old man winter), and it even included a couple of neat twists and turns. So what went wrong? Unfortunately, the film on the whole just runs along with a little humor here and there, a little bit of pseudo-romance, which actually drags the film down especially at the very beginning, a little bit of action and an even smaller bit of suspense. All in all, nothing to majorly crow about, but certainly a film which I would have had no problem recommending to people who liked Theron or Affleck, like "winter" movies and Christmas songs and didn't mind suspending their disbelief every now and again. But unfortunately for Frankenheimer and crew, they decided to finish the movie off with one of the most absurd endings that I've seen in a while. So whatever little recommendation there was left in me by that point disappeared along with all sense of reality in the script. Of course, to each his own, and God knows every single one of us has our own barometer of far-fetchedness, so who knows, maybe you won't mind the ending so much. But as much as my buddy and I tried to make sense of the cards that we were dealt during this film's final moments, it was obvious that neither one of us could pretend that any of it made much sense.

An okay movie...with a laughable ending.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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