Gutshot Straight Is A Run Of The Mill DVD Filler
Poker is an easy subject to use when it comes to movies. The gambling aspect that requires huge amounts of money to be involved makes it an easy target for gritty, shady films to use it as some sort of neo-noir topic. The only problem with this is that it’s also often used as fodder for directors and writers to churn into many poorly-reviewed films, and such is the case for Gutshot Straight.
Gutshot Straight, a 2014 movie starring George Eads (of the original CSI fame), Stephen Lang, and Steven Seagal (surprisingly farther down the bill) sees Eads play Jack Daniels, a (guess what!) professional poker player who is in more than just a lot of debt. Underworld gambler Duffy (played by Lang) puts Jack’s family in danger after he accepts an unusual bet from him, and now Jack must turn to his loan shark Paulie Trunks (played by Steven Seagal), who’s the archetypal action hero who protects him. You can kind of see how this review is going to go.
On further review, poker is really just a vehicle for the film’s events.The film’s title is a reference to a gutshot straight draw, which is a kind of hand that’s almost a straight but is missing the middle card of the straight. It’s a high-risk type of play, because you’re never really sure you’re getting the right card to finish the straight; the most you might be able to get would be a pair.
It doesn’t quite make sense in the context of the plot, as though the filmmakers and scriptwriter were only looking for a cool, badass-sounding poker reference they can use to lure poker players in.
It’s really more of an action film than a poker film, but seeing Steven Seagal’s name on the poster can already tell you that. The amount of well-reviewed Seagal movies are very few, too.
Nothing about Gutshot Straight seems to be serious, nor does it want to be a serious film. There’s a reason why it doesn’t have a lot of reviews anywhere: it’s just not that good enough. I feel pretty bad for guys like George Eads and Stephen Lang, who decided to take the easy payday this movie brought and compromise on whatever artistic principles they might have. It’s funny to think that a studio ever thought that people would just buy into an action film that just does all the rote tropes and conventions just because it’s an action film or a Steven Seagal is on it, but here we are. Poker and its connections to the underworld are merely low-hanging fruit for movies, as always, like I mentioned.
Gutshot Straight will never, ever be considered a classic movie to come out of 2014. That’s my review, and it’s a shame that I’ve even had to waste time spelling it out and your time reading about it. When you think about it, looking at who and what’s on the cover of the DVD should’ve clued you in already.
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