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Runner Runner Reviews

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Everett J

Super Reviewer

December 23, 2013
If they gave an award for Worst Movie Trailer for the year, I'm sure this would win it. I remember seeing it and just being like "man that is a horrible trailer, the movie can't possible be that bad", and it actually is. Justin Timberlake plays a Princeton student who loves to gamble and plays online poker to pay his tuition. When he is cheated on a big game and loses everything he decides to go to Costa Rica and confront the man behind the website, Ivan Block(Ben Affleck). So he confronts him and Affleck gives him a refund and offers him a 7 figure job right there on the spot. Yup, just like that. Timberlake then finds out the Block is a bad guy to do business with as the F.B.I is after him. First, the performances are horrible! I like Timberlake and Affleck, but they are so miscast here it's laughable. This is the worst Timberlake has been in a movie yet, and Affleck is the most unconvincing mobster I may have ever seen. There were a couple times in this they had a chance to go further and save the movie, but they hold back. Really makes the movie feel like it is lacking the balls needs for a mobster flick. It's dumb, pointless, and a waste of time. Just skip it and watch "Rounders" instead, now there is a good gambling movie.

Super Reviewer

October 6, 2013
Good movie and interesting plot. Justin needs money for his Masters degree at Princeton. He uses an online casino but loses his money. He realises he has been cheated out of his money. He goes to Costa Rica to confront the casino tycoon Ben. Who offers him a job. Movie produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2013
Play. Or be played.

Great Movie!!! I'm proud to say I was part of this movie, I was an extra and i'm shown on camera on 2 scenes during the underground casino basement parts. I very much enjoy this film not only because I was part of it but because the movie is just cool to watch and intriguing based on true events. It was film in my home country of Puerto Rico (not Costa Rica) which is a beautiful island full of beautiful people. "Runner Runner" shows a life of excess in an exotic paradise, which captivates the student crippled by university fees. From beautiful scenery to hedonistic lifestyle, there is simply everything the young man can imagine. Soon afterwards, he discovers that his job is not as sweet as he thought it was, and he had to get himself out of the terrible mess. With Ben Affleck the Oscar winner, and Justin Timberlake the heartthrob, "Runner Runner" has a winning formula. The script is tight and full of surprises, I enjoyed the ride through the exotic paradise and the dark underworld of the corrupt corporation.

Princeton grad student Richie, believing he's been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block. Richie is seduced by Block's promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.

Super Reviewer

September 28, 2013
Richie (Timberlake) is paying his way through Princeton University by working as an affiliate for Midnight Black, a successful online gambling site. He receives a commission for signing up his fellow students but when the father of one student complains to the college Dean, Richie is told he must quit working for the site or he is no longer welcome at Princeton. Desperate for cash to pay his tuition, Richie pulls an all-nighter playing poker on Midnight Black. After amassing over $50,000, almost enough to cover his fees, Richie is suddenly cheated out of his winnings. He heads to Costa Rica, where the site operates from, and confronts Ivan Block (Affleck), head of the online empire. Impressed by Richie's knowledge, Block hires the student and Richie soons finds himself in over his head, with the FBI and local mobsters showing an unwanted interest in his new career.

Having missed its press screening, I caught 'Runner Runner' on its opening day and was instantly reminded why I hate public screenings. Seated two rows ahead and to my right was an idiot with a smartphone, or should that be "idiotphone", the light from which could have been used by a Gestapo officer to interrogate a suspected member of the French Resistance. I waited patiently through the commercials and trailers but when the offender showed no signs of putting the device away, I was forced to shout a warning across the rows. To my pleasant surprise, the light was immediately turned off (usually they either ignore me or begrudgingly comply, comparing me to a piece of male anatomy under their breath) and I relaxed into my seat. Halfway through Brad Furman's "thriller" I was beginning to regret taking such a stern stance, as a beam of light in the corner of my eye would have provided a welcome distraction from the inanity onscreen.

Those irate about Affleck's casting in 'Superman & Batman's High School Reunion', or whatever it's to be called, won't be reassured by his performance here, as the actor seems to be in some kind of hypnotic trance. To be fair, only someone under the influence of a hypnotist could have read this script and agreed to any further involvement. Arterton seems genuinely disinterested throughout, like a pretty girl desperate to escape from a disastrous blind date. The only person making any effort is Timberlake, but his usual boundless enthusiasm here resembles a family member cracking jokes at a funeral to lighten the mood; nobody's appreciating it.
The script makes the plot seem a lot more complicated than it actually is and I couldn't help wonder if an earlier draft didn't feature a homoerotic sub-plot between Affleck and Timberlake, as there are several moments where Affleck looks on with jealousy as Timberlake romances Arterton, but it's never made exactly clear who he's jealous of. Had this been explored further it would have at least provided the ounce of originality this film badly requires.

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2014
This crime thriller directed by Brad Furman, and written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien was just light entertainment. Please, do not expect anything more, even with stars Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, and Ben Affleck... it was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Michael Shamberg, and Stacey Sher, for a quick buck and you could see that in every part of it! The story was superficial regardless the fact that some parts of this narrative are based on the life of Nat Arem, a professional poker player, and former accountant at Deloitte Touche who helped uncover cheating in online poker by using statistical methods to analyse thousands of games.

The film received generally negative reviews from critics, and there is many reasons for it. The screenplay with the story of Richie Furst (who used to have a lucrative career on Wall Street, and this history prevents him from receiving tuition assistance at Princeton), is one reason for it. He funds his master's degree by referring students to online gambling, for which he receives a cut. After the dean threatens to expel him for these activities, Richie tries to win his tuition using his excellent poker skills in online gambling, but he loses all his money to a cheater, something he is able to prove by statistics. How realistic this part is, I am not sure, but to me it looked as fake as possible. Second issue with this film is the directing - it is professional enough for TV episodes of some of the crime series, but mostly reminds us of a B grade movie directing which had lots of sponsors. We've seen it before, and forget it quickly. I didn't mind the acting but because of the first two problems, the acting had no chance to be expressive enough to be remembered.

If you are in a mood for no brainer, you don't mind occasional violence in a very impotent movie, and you have an hour and a half to kill - choose it... it has some redeeming qualities in it.
Jeff B.
Jeff B.

Super Reviewer

October 8, 2013
Running running on empty for an hour and a half, the writer behind Rounders plays out a losing hand that strangely holds a lot of Ace cards. First of all, that aforementioned Poker-faced drama deserves a vaulted place in the annals of '90s cinema so you'd think his current gambling thriller bears slot machine fruit. Second of all, the marquee talent involved alone hints that the flick will break even if the material craps out. A promising set-up, however, ends up owing the (movie)house because audiences can't extend credit to cliches they've already seen a thousand and one times before on the big screen. The tagline of Rounders? "You've got to play the hand you're dealt." Sadly, this results in a boring night for moviegoers hungry for the action.

In this R-rated drama, a busted online poker player (Timberlake) goes after the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur (Affleck).

The premise almost teases an intelligent island-based mental con game a la David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner, but the result is more of a poker butter face--risky, costly, and ultimately plain ugly. Not even the future Batman and a 20/20 Experience redeems this bum chip. As Argo and The Social Network make unarguably clear, Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake are capable of much more than chasing caricatures down a dark alley of banality. Screenwriter Brian Koppelman knows the gaming lingo well and his actors stand and deliver it, but the audience seriously deserves a comp for sitting through the rest of this tired cat and mouse exercise.

Bottom line: Bummer Bummer.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2013
Even if "Runner Runner" straddles the line between stale and refreshing, the ensemble cast alone is enough to get people in their seats, even if their deliveries aren't necessarily the best of their career. What originally drew me to the film was the villainous performance from Ben Affleck, which we are not privy to in most of his showings. But as Ivan Block, he's allowed to be the likable bad guy; the bad guy that even when in the throws of performing evil, is still completely captivating. Although his performance, too, straddles a line, mostly between too much and too little, his character is displayed more on his time worn face than in his words or actions. To balance this, Justin Timberlake is tossed in as resident good guy, baby-faced and dough-eyed, given the keys to the castle, but always kept at arms length, which can be said for his performance as well. Whenever Timberlake is tossed in the lead role of an action movie or thriller, he runs the gambit of being too inexperienced and too flashy, begging the question whether someone else would be better positioned in the same role. Say "Wanted" for example, with lead James McAvoy; I completely buy him in the role of nobody turned professional killer, but Timberlake in "Runner Runner" is never quite convincing. Gemma Arterton is phenomenally gorgeous and even her assets are squandered, left to play the female ping pong between Affleck and Timberlake, with no real motives or direction. Anthony Mackie as overly aggressive FBI agent Shavers is fresh in his role, and perhaps plays his part too well, surrounded by too many people not quite giving it their all. "Runner Runner" is an interesting concept that delivers in small doses and never takes the full plunge.
March 23, 2014
Kinda wished that it wouldn't be as bad as I heard it was, but really... really, it's just terrible. The writing is shit, the performances, although I like Affleck & Timberlake, are not good... it's just bad. Was that a Deadmau5 cameo, though? Worth seeing just for that.
July 11, 2013
Runner Runner is somewhat enjoyable. The story is not that bad nor the acting, yeah it was cliche in so many parts and could have been so much better in terms of writing but overall it was a decent somewhat entertaining movie.
February 21, 2014
I really love Justin Timberlake as an actor, but I didn't expect to enjoy this movie at all. Imagine my surprise that I was completely engrossed after the first five minutes, and stayed that way throughout. In comparison to a lot of the other movies I've seen recently, that's saying something. I was very pleasantly surprised- even despite the ever-annoying presence of Ben Affleck.
February 7, 2014
(1 1/2 Stars) It's so easy to blame the lead actors of a movie since they're the face of the film, but Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck are not what's wrong with Runner Runner. You can tell they're trying with what they're given, but this is just a bad thriller with loose ends, inane characters, and nothing really important happening. The "evil millionaire mastermind" Ivan Block (Affleck) isn't that threatening at all. I'm serious, the worst thing he does in this movie is yell at people. The trailer makes you think he's an insane killer, but (possible spoilers) I don't remember anyone dying in the movie. Sure, someone disappears, but they forget about him quickly. I don't get the love interest (Gemma Arterton) and her motivation for betraying people.

I see what they tried to do and that is make a modern day version of Martin Scorsese's Casino. But Scorsese's movie is a sprawling, nearly 3 hour epic that shows a seedy underbelly of an already sleazy world of gambling. It was violent, visceral, and unforgettable. Runner Runner is barely 90 minutes and deals with internet gambling... and we're supposed to be SURPRISED that cheating occurs at an online casino? If you're gambling online and you didn't see getting swindled coming, you're not worth my sympathy, you're an idiot.

Why is this movie rated R? Other than forced f-bombs, there isn't any death or gore. I'm not advocating blood and killing in order for the movie to be good, but if there's no credible threat, then there's nothing to be scared about. Runner Runner is dense and bland, but believe it or not, there are a few hammy elements that make it worth watching, like the forced F words and John Heard playing a hopeless gambling addict and the plot holes and the doofy characters and the idiotic techno-babble that comes with these movies about the internet.
January 22, 2014
This was a seriously disappointing movie. The trailer made this out to be something it was not and it was a definite let down.
January 21, 2014
Its not a complete waste of time. If anything, the movie passes on the easy charisma of its stars. But, all in all, its a pretty mirthless venture. And, given the talent involved, you cant help but feel a little let down once the credits roll.
January 21, 2014
This will never be included on anybody's best-movies list, even anybody's best gambling movies list, but it moved along and provided enough distraction to cover an exceptionally loud conversation from the seat behind me on a recent airplane flight. Would probably be the only reason I'd watch this middle-brow, largely suspense-free "thriller."
October 19, 2013
This movie's saving grace was Justin Timberlake. The story could have been really good, but it was slow in parts that needed to be rushed through, and rushed in parts it could have been really good. So, it was good, but nothing worth recommending.
January 11, 2014
Timberlake does a good job and the script is great, but Affleck really hams it up, Mackie is left to do nothing but scowl and threaten, and the film itself feels incredibly rushed, as though it was determined to live up to its own title.
December 21, 2012
This movie is ok. Runner Runner is not a movie that i would run and buy, but if it was on tv i would watch it . The Critic need the give Timberlake and Affleck break there werent bad in the movie
December 24, 2013
Runner Runner has an interesting plot and a good cast but the story struggles to be average. The movie is short and feels rushed, the story is corny at parts as well. The FBI agent is the worst part. So over the top and completely unbelievable. Overall its worth a watch maybe once.
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