Guns, Girls, and Gambling Is A Straight-To-Video Title That Fails To Be A Tarantino Movie
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If there’s a movie out there that is more honest about what it’s about and what it wants to be than Guns, Girls, and Gambling, I’d love to see it. The trailer even supports the unapologetic honesty of the film’s premise, offering the barest skeleton of a plot that may or may not be just a vehicle for the promises made by the title. It’s not every day that you get a film that completely owns up to what it’s trying to be, even though it knows that it isn’t much to look at or digest. Whether you decide to watch it or not, which is completely up to you, by the way, the filmmakers are at least happy knowing that they have completely bared their hand for you to contemplate. The movie is a straight-to-video affair, though, which should already tell you a lot, more than what the title lets on.
Despite the implied simplicity of the film in its title, Guns, Girls, and Gambling (made in the year 2012) actually has a much more convoluted plot.
The movie stars Christian Slater leading the cast as the protagonist John Smith, a typical down-on-his-luck guy who comes to Las Vegas to try and get lucky, shaking away all memories of his ex-girlfriend who left him for a doctor.
In the casino he goes to, there’s a precious Native American mask locked away in a safe, which gets stolen, and an Elvis impersonator is the prime suspect. But because John is in the middle of everything, he gets all tangled up in the scenario. Also, the eponymous girl in the movie’s title is actually a sexy hitman (hitwoman) played by Swedish actress Helena Mattson.
Guns, Girls, and Gambling really gets messy from then on, which is more than its straightforward title can say. The whole thing unfolds as an elaborate plot staged by two important characters. The mask is more than just a really expensive Native American mask. The rest of the movie unfolds in various levels of twists and turns, just because they can. Gary Oldman, the legendary Gary Oldman, is also in the cast of this film, which is strange because the whole thing feels like it’s beneath him. Perhaps he found some saving grace somewhere in it? We’ll never know, but I suppose something was enough for him in this movie.
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But is Guns, Girls, and Gambling actually a diamond in the rough? The film promises some Quentin Tarantino-style violence straight from the trailer (as one of the blurbs), and while that may not be a very high bar to clear (Tarantino’s stylized brand is replicable, to some extent) it doesn’t always mean that the promise can be fulfilled. It feels like the movie takes on that branding just to try and get you, the viewer, to turn your brain off while you watch it. And to some extent, it works! Who doesn’t want to go see a film with guns, girls, and gambling, if that’s what they really wanted? If you do, then maybe it’s as good as Gary Oldman thinks it is (or was hoodwinked into thinking it is), but if it still isn’t, then I can’t blame you for trying.
The plot of Guns, Girls, and Gambling is messy and not at all confusing in a good, brain-ticklingly satisfying sort of way.
The story is also quite shallow, despite a professional performance from Gary Oldman and the rest of the cast; sometimes there are just some things you can’t save, despite the level of skill you put together.
The film tries, it really does, to cobble together a decent movie and try to be a Tarantino lite, but it just doesn’t turn out that way at all.
The big question, then, is should you waste time on this movie at all? I suppose if you really, truly wanted to waste time because you’ve got nothing better to do and you want to inflict pain on your soul, you can go right ahead and rent Guns, Girls, and Gambling. If you want to go see luminaries like Gary Oldman and Christian Slater waste their own time in a film like this, a film that nobody understand why it was made, then feel free to get it. Just don’t say that you weren’t warned, that you didn’t see this little review when you Googled the movie before you rented it or streamed it from Netflix, or wherever. Don’t put the blame on me. I did my part.
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