Runner Runner box
Runner Runner Blu-ray
When Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake signed on for the crime thriller Runner Runner, the project seemed as if it would be one to watch. Affleck, especially, has been on a hot streak with thrillers, putting out both The Town and Argo over the past couple of years. This time around, he wasn’t sitting in the directors chair. The Lincoln Lawyer’s Brad Furman assembled an acting team including the two aforementioned names but also Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie. With such a strong team in place, what could possibly go wrong?

Apparently, quite a bit. While Runner Runner starts with a fine enough premise and an excellent cast, it’s a mess. The movie tries to feel as if it’s set in the now, taking a stance on the hazards and promises of the online gaming industry, but it more often feels like a soapy narrative than a story that’s grounded in reality. Still, I can deal with a little incredulity and wild lines of reasoning as long as the third act is satisfying. Yet the ending is mostly where Runner Runner misses the mark. Audiences will find themselves patiently sitting through a better than average setup for a thriller, set against a backdrop of exotic locations and money-rich properties, only to find a movie that dithers and dithers until it comes to an ultimate conclusion that feels forced and unimaginative.

It’s kind of nice to see Affleck play the morally convoluted character in gambling lord Ivan Block and it’s nice to see Timberlake back in an overly articulate smart guy role. The film’s not a total disaster in its casting, but there are just so many weird plot dalliances that its hard to really get into bed with the characters as they make business deals and play a most dangerous game. Still, fans of Timberlake, Affleck or Arterton can nab this one over at Amazon today.

Best Special Feature: People didn’t love Furman’s last film, The Lincoln Lawyer, but there were plenty of moments in that movie that kept it grounded in reality. Runner Runner has the opposite mentality, and nothing shows this like the deleted scenes. I mean, honestly, the first of these is a scene shot in a giant cave. Ivan Block emerges from the shadows only to conduct a shady business deal as he looks out over one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever seen. Forget the back rooms of bars, all shady business deals should go the way of the cave.

Other Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
"House of Cards – The Inside Story of Online Poker"
Theatrical Trailer

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