Set in the backdrop of high stake poker, this film is about the life of Tommy Vinson, played by Burt Reynolds, a reformed gambler, who exited the world of Texas Hold’em more than three decades prior. Reason? He missed a family emergency. Since then, he swore to his wife, Helen, never to go back to poker again. He continues with his language business, but one day, as he watches a poker game, he sees a young man, Alex Stillman, who reminds him of the thrill of yesteryears.
Who’s Alex? He is a hotshot, albeit cocky senior at the prestigious Yale University. This makes it easier for me to say that he is the best player so far. And like for most smart university student’s his folks prefer to have him pursue law. Alex is a rebellious child, and poker is what he wants as a professional career, like the chaps he’s been watching on TV.
After winning an online poker game, he is quickly propelled to play on Television, but he manages to lose his first game too early. Greatness is closing in on him, although he does not know that his only fault is that he tends focusing in on the cards and not the game. This is where Tommy comes into the picture.
The two meet, and Tommy makes a deal with Alex – he will finance his entry cost to every significant event if the youngster agrees to play the way Tommy prefers. Alexis is a bit hesitant at first but is quickly persuaded when he sees tommy makes some great calls in a poker game playing on TV. Tommy’s wife and Alex’s parents are fed up with this business.
The two fall out over a girl that Tommy had arranged to meet Alex because the latter becomes emotionally involved. From there on, things change. There’s plenty in the film that should have been done right but wasn’t. For starters, the dialogue leaves wondering what on earth the director was thinking. The first few scenes are full of bland chatter involving characters always remind each other things they have mentioned a few scenes before.
Then there’s a series of poorly crafted montages – an abstract exclusion of a player’s face, shots take against a blue backdrop with very little thought of how that relates to the cut off scenes. In short, you have no clue who is winning, and at some point, you stop caring. A few scenes feel well put together to tell you that the director could have done an excellent job if he wanted.
If you thought that the film would be better considering it features WTP and a couple of poker professionals, you need to pay attention. The film itself is a not so good version of another thing, including the game itself. For instance, the first scene is a close replica of the first scene in the film Casino Royale.
The director injected a lot of work into the film, but even then, it still lacks personality, and there’s nothing that can be done to spruce it up. It’s the kind of stuff that you recommend to a friend who fell off your contact list.