By Hemanth Kissoon
“You have to play now.”
Cards on the table, as of writing here, I have not seen the original film, 13 TAZMATI, which 13 is based on. One day I may rectify that situation. Ok, cards back off the table, in my hand, here we go: Director Géla Babluani remakes his own film, delivering a plodding thriller. Are we meant to care about anyone, in particular the lead? Are events assembled to quicken the pulse in anticipation? If so, something has gone wrong. There should be a tribunal where movies are tried for wasting a huge cast. THE EXPENDABLES 2 would be first on the docket. 13 would join it. Get this: Michael Shannon, Ray Winstone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Emmanuelle Chriqui Alexander Skarsgård and effing legend Ben Gazzara; and Sam Riley and 50 Cent. What attracted them to this project? The end result causes me to wonder. The dialogue is perfunctory and banal, and the characterisation non-existent.
Talbot, Ohio, the father of Vince Ferro (Sam Riley) is in hospital requiring an operation that the family cannot afford. Vince, on an electrician gig, overhears that the homeowner has been presented with an opportunity to earn lots of money. That guy overdoses on heroin. Vince takes on his identity and follows the conveniently left instructions. We are in TV-movie-of-the week territory in terms of plotting. 13 also looks shoddy, like someone forget to clean the lens. Then there’s the irritatingly clumsy music score, which constantly grates. The editing and camera movement is join-the-dots and devoid of any kind of panache. I kept feeling this is amateur hour.
Once at the location Vince finds out he’s in some kind of Russian roulette gambling tournament. There’s no extricating himself. As participants die, we are meant to fear for the protagonist. However, we know Vince and Winstone’s Ronald Lynn Bagges make it to the final from the opening sequence. A whisper of tension percolates for the last 15 minutes. Inadequate on too many levels.