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November 7, 2011

Movie Review: 13 (2011, Blu-ray)

Not to be confused with the Catherine Hardwicke coming-of-age drama by the same name, 13 is actually a remake of the critically acclaimed Gela Babluani thriller 13 Tzameti. Babluani takes on the duty as director of the remake for a film he did just fine the first time. Can Babluani capture a wider audience with a cast that now includes Jason Statham, Ray Winstone, Ben Gazzarra and Mickey Rourke?

Buy 13 Blu-ray or DVD

Sam Riley (Control) plays young down-on-his-luck electrician who happens to find a piece of important mail in the house of one of his customers. The letter contains instructions and a cell phone that gives him the opportunity to jump into the shoes of a dead man who was just as unlucky and desperate as him. He's also no longer a man with a name - he's just number 13. Soon Sam is deep into the world of a dangerous high-stakes Russian roulette game.  Here he joins Ronald Lynn (Ray Winstone) and Jefferson (Mickey Rourke) as the trio do anything they can to avoid getting their brains splattered by fellow players.

The barely audible duo of Jason Statham and 50 Cent play Jasper and Jimmy. Jasper is Lynn's (Winstone) brother who has found that using his sibling could be a highly profitable venture. Statham is ok -when you can hear what he's saying - but it's the unique premise and the performances by Sam Riley, Mickey Rourke and the snarling Russian roulette emcee, Henry (played Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon) that really  make this film watchable. As of writing, I have not seen 13 Tzameti but I enjoyed 13 enough that I'm going to check it out just to see why it had to be remade.

No extra features are included on the disc. It would have been cool see an interview with Babluani about remaking his own film, or a commentary, but all that is included is a chapter selection and English and Spanish subtitle options. While it’s far from the perfect thriller, 13 has enough action and surprises to pass along an evening.

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