A remake of 2005's 13 Tzameti, the director is true to the original story but the film is nowhere near as good, despite the impressive cast.
Director: Géla Babluani
Starring: Sam Riley, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Ray Winstone, Curtis Jackson
The young French-Georgian writer-director Babluani's 2005 feature debut 13 Tzameti was a darkly compelling film noir with one foot firmly in the European art house tradition. A nightmarish thriller about a desperate handyman who becomes a reluctant contestant in an underground Russian roulette tournament, it earned a cult following and a clutch of festival awards. Made five years later, Babluani's own English-language remake relocates the action from small-town France to the American Midwest, losing much of its creepy power in translation. Riley, stars as the penniless anti-hero Vince, a blue-collar electrician who unwisely enters a mysterious moneymaking scheme in a bid to help his sick, impoverished family. Soon he finds himself in a mansion outside Chicago, staring down the barrel of a gun. Instead of stark monochrome, which lent the original the feel of a timelessly bleak fable, this remake bows to convention by framing horror-movie carnage in grimy, washed-out colours. And whereas the first film featured Babluani's family members and sinister-looking amateurs, this cast is bloated with mismatched B-movie action stars. Rourke and Winstone, especially, seem to sleepwalk through extended cameos that add little to the narrative. Fans of 13 Tzameti will be disappointed by this flatter, more conservative remake. That said, Babluani sticks fairly closely to his original story, which still delivers plenty of bracing fatalism and jolting tension. It is a partially successful experiment, but your money would be better spent renting the original on DVD.