13 Movie Review
You might think that it’s difficult to write a movie about Russian roulette. Sure, The Deer Hunter had a couple scenes involving it, but a whole movie about people competing in a game where the loser kills himself? Not exactly easy to do. And the folks out at Anchor Bay are going to take the chance on it as evidenced by 13, a copy of which they sent out to us for review. While you won’t be able to get hands on this one until a week from today, you’ll almost certainly want to see it when it hits.
13 follows a young newcomer to this most bizarre of blood sports, in which he’s found himself a participant wearing a number. And while the risk is high, so too is the payout for those who compete…and those who win. It’s entirely too high, in fact, for our boy to resist, being as his father’s in the hospital and the family home is on the line. But while he’s playing the game, he’s also drawing a lot of unwelcome attention, and it’s that attention that may well wind up killing him just as surely as losses in the game would.
Most of the first third of the movie is devoted to the intricacies of getting to be a competitor in the Russian roulette underground, a baffling and downright Byzantine performance featuring mail drops, train ticket chicanery, and more. It may be a bit much, but it really does go to show just how deeply, deeply underground all this is, and it’s impressive, but it does take up a lot of run time.
You might expect this to be an action title, and while there will indeed be gunplay, it’s rather in short supply through most of the first hour. This focuses much more on the dramatic side of things, with the various competitors and their reasons for being involved in a game in which they could all quite easily die. It’s still pretty interesting because, after all, when’s the last time you saw a movie entirely about Russian roulette? I frankly can’t recall the last time I did, so this is at least mostly new territory.
The Screenhead Ten Scale always welcomes new effort, and hands 13 about half its score, a seven out of ten. It’s a little on the dull side, a little too much drama and gambling, but given the nature of the movie itself it’s hard to avoid. That and it being largely untraveled ground gives it that little something extra that should be experienced.