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April 23, 2013

Movie Review: Guns, Girls and Gambling (2011)

Mickey Mouse roll call...er, should I say, Tarantino casting call, sound off now: Now, let's have a look-see...we have The Rancher...The Cowboy...The Chief...The Indian...John Smith (...sheesh...now, we're just getting ironic)...The Sexy, Gun-Toting, Black-Lycra-Clad Tall-Drink-o-Water, Blonde Assassin (...uh, getting interesting)...The Girl Next Door...Two, Black-Suited Indian Hitmen (...amongst other Indians...uh, excuse me...'Native Americans'...even though, there IS a nasty canasta fellow here, who's actually FROM India...go figure)...The Thieving Prostitute (...naturally)...and a cartel of bad Elvis impersonators, covering a whole spectrum of ethnicity. Toss in a rare & ancient Indian warrior mask, throw all this into one of those informercialled Magic Bullet mini-mix-masters, press 'frappe', and wha' da' ya' got?? 

This amusingly quaint, cleverly deceptive and rather funny little all-star Quentin Tarantino knock-off from 2011, with the grocery-shelf generic title of "Guns, Girls and Gambling"...
 
Atleast, at first glance, that is what most viewers here, may well resign them with...that this is yet another low-grade Tarantino knock-off (...eh, understandable here, as the film opens, trying to be 'eclectically cool', by once again...as some films have done, in the past...playing the 'Elvis' card); however, as the events that transpire here, further unfold...twists and turns, deftly wrapped around a simple, mistaken-identity-driven story of 'what the heck...everyone's trying to kill me, for something that I didn't do'...the clear intent here, was to give the ol' Tarantino style, a sly, clever and humorous 'wink, wink', without actually crossing the line, over into outright parody...


With his character partially rendered in angst, wise-ass narrative, Christian Slater (...whose cinematic association with Elvis has become almost as prominent, as fellow actor Nicholas Cage's occasionally similar, tell-tale movie rubbage with 'the King') is a drifter John Smith, who stumbles into an Indian casino town, hoping for jackpot nirvana. Instead, he winds up auditioning in an Elvis impersonator contest, and in losing that, he resigningly settles in for one last gamble...at a poker table, with several of the other contest 'Elvis's (...or, is the correct plural...as Peggy Bundy put it, in an episode of "Married...with Children"...'El-Vy'?? Your guess is as good as mine), including an Asian one, a gay one, an actual Elvis one, and a 'midget' one (...and rest assured, they DO run the 'midget vs. little person' gag, for all it's worth, in the course of the film). Knocked out, at some point, Smith awakens, and is soon assaulted (...quite literally) by a progression of insistent and deadly stereotypical characters...each with his or her own cliched, momentary freeze-frame, when they appear, where a title swiftly slides into picture, confirming who and/or what they are...who are all looking for some ancient Indian warrior mask (...a butt-ugly thing, which looks like it was taken from the mold, used in that old 'Twilight Zone' episode, "Eye of the Beholder"). Reluctantly finding himself attached to a bubbly-sprite, ditsy young gal, whom he happens upon, along the way, Smith now finds himself frantically dodging bullets, tomahawks, the John Q. Law of the area, and a growing pile of dead bodies, all blamed to him...trying desperately to avoid a painfully early demise, and at the same time, trying to find this wretched mask, which everyone's looking for...and seem convinced that he stole. But then, is everything here, as it actually seems?? Or is there some other motivating, underlining agenda at work??

 Despite the expected gratuitous violence, the well-written quick draw dialog, the cleverly conceived 'blink-and-you'll-miss-something' story-line  as well as the pretty damn cool all-star cast...including Gary Oldman, Jeff Fahey, Powers Boothe, Chris Kattan and Tony Cox, amongst others...the overall production level of this fun, albeit derivative little film, surprisingly enough, seems not unlike that of one of those USA Network, made-for-cable movies. However, this minimization hardly takes away from the overall outrageousness of the film, and rest assured, makes this amusing little excursion, well worth the time spent...

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