The Card Player review by The Grim Ringler

The Card Player

Its never easy to see someone you love go through a rough spot in their life. It feels far worse to have to watch the rough spot over and over and over again. Its the price you pay for loving film, I suppose. When a director is at their best the world is full of hope and promise. But when they hit the skids, wow, its like re-living an eighth grade dance awkward, boring, and with no style. Such has become the fate of one of Italys greatest horror directors Dario Argento. Its as if hes reliving moments from his past and trying to find that lost glory. Well, if nothing else, I can say this keep looking.

The Card Player is a killer most foul. Someone who uses the, heavens, internet (!!) not for porn but for murder. He abducts victims and then spirits them away to their secret lair and then challenges the police to a game of video poker, and should the police losethe victim dieson webcam!! The police are naturally furious and stomp about and curse the day the killer was born and swear revenge. The police, wouldnt you know it, are just no good at poker so they enlist the help of a ner-do-well in the hopes of beating the mad-person at their own game. Unfortunately, when they do beat the killer and free a victim, the killer gets a little upset and decides that they need to up the stakes.

If this sounds like the premise of about ten movies that have come out since, say, 1997, then youd be right. The hell of it with this movie is that Argento is better than this. Much better. The acting is god-awful, the story is pedestrian, and dammit, hes DONE the masked killer thing. More than a few times. This is a director that has enough talent to do any sort of movie he wanted. He was never the most coherent storyteller, but at least he was a good director. Hell, a great director. His imagery and style influenced this generation of filmmakers. And the twist is pretty obvious. And whats sad is this downward spiral has lasted several films now.

In my heart of hearts, I wish Argento would do another fantasy, or some sort of film that challenged him. I refuse to believe hes lost it as you dont lose talent. You lose practice USING that talent. Hell, I still wanna know who stole Tobe Hoopers soul, but thats for another time. The Card Player is predictable, pointless, and is amateur filmmaking at its worst. And what makes this even sadder is that the score is done in part by one of the geniuses behind the band Goblin, and this score REEKS. And its a shame. If youre a fan of Argento youll probably see it anyway, but wow is it bad. Wow! To me, when the inernet is used as a plot device, youre starting off with your foot in crap, but what do I know?

Alas, Argento has dealt us a bad, bad hand. The people behind this film are better than this, and we need to expect more from them. Otherwise the long, fine career theyve had is in jeopardy, as is their legacy.


4 out of 10 Jackasses
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