Hey gang, Valkor here. For the month of December (2015) I’ll mainly be swimming through and tackling my backlog of films that need to be reviewed; sure there'll be some gaming and a few tech items up, but films are gonna take over the pages of TOV for the duration, kicking off with a film that centers around a game I really suck at. It’s called “Cold Deck” and while it makes me long for some Vegas action, I’m gonna steer clear of the poker tables (lack of a poker face yo).
Cold Deck centers on a bro named Bobby (Stefano Gallo), who is pretty much down on his luck – he can barely make ends meat, lives at home with his mother and whatever money he makes or gets from her he throws away on gambling with his buddies, for which he has an addiction. In order to get his head above water, Bobby’s friend Ben (Kerr Hewitt) suggest they play in a high-stakes poker tourney, hosted by a rich guy named Turk (Robert Knepper). The pot: 250k, but the buy-in is 25k, which neither of the two has. They raise a good chunk of the money stealing a car, but the other half Bobby steals from his mother (mind you that’s pretty much all she has in the world). When he arrives at the event, Bobby finds his poker buddy Chip (Paul Sorvino) present and the two ultimately go head to head, with Bobby on the losing end. And now he’s really down on his luck.
Fortunately for Bobby, poker buddy Chip has an offer for him that he shouldn’t refuse – steal the next pot from rich guy Turk, he’ll vouch for him and his whereabouts in-case Turk asks and everybody wins. Robbing Turk was a breeze for Bobby and the money does help him big time. But when Turk gets an inkling of who was behind the stick-up well… the shit is gonna hit the fan and Bobby will need a serious way out... or die trying!
Watching Cold Deck, I’m reminded of my viewing of Pressed; both have very strong beginnings, but how they end is where things split off. The ending for Pressed falls flat, ruining the entire experience. But with Cold Deck, thankfully the outcome was entirely different. And I’ll tell you why in the TOV Breakdown!
Cold Deck is a solid crime drama that’s 80 minutes of intense thrills and doesn’t disappoint in holding and keeping you glued to your seat until the end. The plot is pretty simple and straightforward with a few twists that maybe a little too predictable, but I have no complaints (hey if it works). The opening does well in setting up the main character and getting us involved in his plight, without laying it on too thick: Bobby is an addicted gambler with money issues and needs a way out – DONE! Perfect! Now I mentioned Pressed above because the two feel similar, but the ending for Cold Deck works because it cleans up nice and neat for our protagonist as opposed to leaving it open. The action is well balanced with the drama and thankfully things don't dip too far into the sappy, romantic domain. The acting is fairly decent and I’ll never hate a movie with Paul Sorvino in it… except for “4Closed”, which he was good in… but the rest of the film was meh. However with Cold Deck, Sorvino does what he does best – be ever so gangsta! In the end, Cold Deck – totally worth checking out, if you’re looking for the perfect crime drama to settle down with.
While the ending isn’t terrible, it does come across as “too soap opera-y” (yes I’ve watched some soap operas – don’t judge me). For instance, Bobby’s speech towards Chip and Chip’s sobby breakdown… yea it feels like it would fit in well with a soap opera. It's just a little too over the top and dramatic.
That shotgun with the axe at the end... so bad ass! I... I kinda want one!
If you’re in search of a solid crime drama then look no further than “Cold Deck”, which will see a limited theatrical release on December 4th. So if you’re in the LA or Toronto area you should definitely check it out. The rest will have to wait for a wider release, which I would think won’t be too far off. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Cold Deck a 4.