We’re going to take a moment to chat about some REAL LIFE movies…
It’s been quite a while since a number of cinema powerhouses joined forces to put money behind a cyber-thriller at the level of The Matrix and its, erm, “intriguing” sequels. But that hasn’t stopped a few of them, notably Streethouse Productions, from coming together once again to make an impact on the even more computer-based world we’re all living in right now. This time, they have taken on the task of releasing a new film, Casino Row, that attempts to blur the lines of movies like The Matrix, Hackers, and Ocean’s Eleven. But is it inspired? Let’s take a look.
Like The Matrix series before it, Casino Row thrusts viewers into the future. It’s set sometime around the year 2075, when the virtual experience becomes so realistic that it’s hard to tell where reality starts and begins. This is particularly true in the realm of online gambling; whereas gamers previously played online at sites like Betfair, they’re now more connected to their opponents than ever. It feels as if the players are actually sitting at a table, checking their cards, placing their bets, and looking for tells, all from the comfort from their own home.
But as is the case with any online community, hackers and trolls abound. They’re constant attempts to infiltrate and take advantage of this world is mostly kept in line by the security forces put in place by leading online casinos, gaming apps, and the like. That’s where the team led by Chris Hemsworth hits the scene. He attempts to deceive anyone and everyone in his path using a mix of his good looks and charm to win over whoever’s willing to take the bait. A foolhardy and overly confident casino owner, played by an aging Al Pacino, accepts Hemsworth into his inner circle and everything seems to be falling into place for our anti-hero. Or is it?
Casino Row only begins to flounder in the fact that director/screenwriter Brad Furman tries way, way too hard to bring realism into the equation. While it’s clear that online gambling can reach this pinnacle, especially given its popularity right now, that’s not what’s up for debate in this movie.
Furman simply attempts to make us love Hemsworth’s fresh-faced character and sympathize with his plight a little too much. Sure, the story of a late 20-something trying to pay back his student loans through illegal means is intriguing, but there’s a disconnect between the script and how we’re “supposed” to feel. Also, the romantic aspect with actress Olivia Wilde that happens in the last 30 minutes or so? Incredibly predictable and unnecessary, though she does help flesh out Hemsworth’s team of cronies that also includes Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Tom Welling, Eric Winter, and Justin Chatwin, among others. That’s where the Ocean’s Eleven-esque plotline comes in, as you’re waiting to see how each character will be introduced and worked into the narrative. Let’s give Furman credit, he definitely excelled there.
Casino Row will open in a theater near you on the October 25th weekend alongside other films like The Room: Revisited and Troll 5: We Forgot About The Fourth One.