Run time: 104 mins
In Theaters: Friday 25th February 2000
Distributed by: Dimension Films
Production compaines: Dimension Films, Marty Katz Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 66
IMDB: 5.7 / 10
Director: John Frankenheimer
Screenwriter: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Ben Affleck as Rudy Duncan, Gary Sinise as Gabriel Mercer, Charlize Theron as Ashley Mercer, Dennis Farina as Jack Banks, Donal Logue as Pug, Danny Trejo as Jumpy, Isaac Hayes as Zock, James Frain as Nick Cassidy, Dana Stubblefield as The Alamo, Mark Acheson as Mean Guard, Tom Heaton as Ugly Staffer, Michael Sunczyk as Distant Inmate #1, Douglas Arthurs as Distant Inmate #2, Dean Wray as Guard #1, Ron Sauvé as Guard #2, Ron Jeremy as Prisoner #1 (as Ron Hyatt), Hrothgar Mathews as Exit Guard, Clarence Williams III as Merlin, Ashton Kutcher as College Kid
All of which assumes there is some fun to spoil.
Set on a cold Christmas Eve in Michigan, Reindeer Games borrows heavily from its northern brethren Fargo and A Simple Plan, leaving the best elements of both those films on the cutting room floor. Writer Ehren Kruger (Arlington Road, Scream 3) has tried his darnedest to create a formula heist movie that breaks from the formula. Unfortunately he has given us something barely worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The plot starts off with promise: Rudy (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick (James Frain) are set to get out of prison in 3 days, but the day before release, Nick gets killed (oh no!). Rudy takes one look at Nick's pen-pal Ashley (Charlize Theron) and decides, what the hell, he'll impersonate his best jail-friend to get a little nookie. But Rudy quickly gets drawn into a casino-robbery scheme by Ashley's evil brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise), and then the twists begin.
Of course, by that time a long and lonely hour has passed. The first half of Reindeer Games just sits there, spiked with droll voice-over setting up the notion that Ben Affleck just might be the next big action hero. (He's not.) While Kruger and all-star director John Frankenheimer try to imbue Reindeer Games with that Fargo mystique, they mainly end up relying on Theron's bared breasts to captivate the audience. Mind you, movies have been carried on less before, but the ho-hum thrills and coincidental mystery of these Games will likely leave you shrugging with indifference on the way out the door.
How could a two-inch shiv kill Nick? Why would anyone believe Rudy is Nick? Why does Gary Sinise look like he did in Forrest Gump? Whether you bother to worry about the details is up to you.
Not to mention, Christmas was two months ago.
Affleck threatens Theron with their new movie.