Shade is set in the world of poker hustlers working the clubs and martini bars of Los Angeles. The tale unfolds as a group of hustlers encounter "The Dean" and pull off a successful sting ... See full summary »
A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.
Jake Vig (Burns) is a consummate grifter about to pull his biggest con yet, one set to avenge his friend's murder. But his last scam backfired, leaving him indebted to a mob boss (Hoffman) and his enforcer.
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.
Shade is set in the world of poker hustlers working the clubs and martini bars of Los Angeles. The tale unfolds as a group of hustlers encounter "The Dean" and pull off a successful sting that results in their pursuit by a vengeful gangster. Written by
The credits list an "Erdnase Grip" and a "Mechanic's Grip." S.W. Erdnase was the pseudonym of the author of the book "Expert at the Card Table," which was referenced in this movie. A "mechanic's grip" is a special way to hold the cards that facilitates many common sleights (including dealing seconds and dealing from the bottom of the deck). See more »
Think of the movie Maverick with Mel Gibson cast as a modern day tale and you get this movie (although not as good as Maverick). Basically a bunch of hustlers who have card-playing as one of their schemes decide to try to make it big against a old-school pro in a high stakes game. And other than learning about card con artists and seeing some impressive playing tricks, the movie really doesn't develop much beyond that. We have a whiz-kid at stacking decks, known as a Mechanic, played by Stuart Townsend (Vernon), whose potential I believe is restrained in this movie. He represents the prodigal son gone wrong due to the bad influence of his cohorts Charlie (Gabriel Byrne) and Tiffany (Thandy Newton). The dying-flame appearance of Sylvester Stallone (Stevens) known as "The Dean" takes a worn-out Rocky and puts him at a card table instead of in a boxing ring. The constant battle he faces to defend himself as the ultimate card shark is like some famous gunfighter who always challenged.
The card scamming "team" is introduced with some comic book-like announcement schtick, where just as the villain enters the scene, their title flashes across the screen under their face (e.g.: Tiffany as "The Turn"). It was nice though to see Hal Halbrook as "The Professor" still doing films. He does a good job of lending an old world charm and decency to the film.
Jamie Foxx (Larry Jennings) is gutted so quick it almost seems like he made a cameo appearance in this film. Gabriel Byrne and Thandie Newton are as crooked as they come, although Newton makes Byrne look like an altar boy by comparison. Townsend's character is a little subdued in the beginning until the focus shifts past his card tricks and develops him as the quasi-deep character of the film or otherwise protagonist. There is a ridiculous reunion/old flame air with Stalone and Meg Ryan, although it is intended to add weight to the Dean's character to balance that of Townsend's. I guess you could really say the movie about these two. Everything else is just decoration in the movie's attempt to try and involve more conflict and character developments.
Now that I have gabbed on and on, the movie in a nutshell is the classic tale of the talented rookie wanting to beat the master, and thus take his title. The movie gives you an unexpected ending that leaves you feeling like the one of the "snowed" victims it portrays. And the build-up to the final game falls to the floor at once with the game's simple "evening social" portrayal. Aside from this, I did like seeing what can be done with a deck of cards and just how far some con artists really go.
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