Director: Greg Francis
Cast: Beau Mirchoff, Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
When you become a detective in Warsaw Indiana – you go to Poker Night, where you play against some of the best cops in the business. They tell you stories about their time on the job – their successes and failures. When new Detective Stan Jeter leaves the game, he is caught by a vicious psychopath and locked in a basement. Using the stories he heard at Poker Night, he must match wits against his captor – and save not only himself, but the young girl trapped in the basement with him. Like Seven and Usual Suspect, Poker Night combines thrills and twists and turns that will leave you guessing till the very end.
Jeter is the new guy on the force, dubbed by the public as a hero in addition to being promoted to detective, he knows he is beginning to find his place now that he has also just been invited to the oldest tradition there is; a regular poker night with some of the best and most respectable veterans on the force. This is his chance to hear stories from the greats, information and an inside look at how the mind of a cop works, and something that is meant to help him learn from their expertise so that he might come out alive when put in a terrible situation with no one to rely upon but himself. Fortunately, this information and insight didn’t come a moment too soon as Jeter is abducted by a masked psychopath after he responds to a call on the police radio immediately after leaving the poker night. He soon finds himself thrown unwittingly into a deadly game of cat and mouse that also is beginning to appear strangely personal.
‘Poker Night’ is written and directed by Greg Francis who as far as I can tell has been mostly involved with directing Television episodes up to this point. Francis does a pretty capable job directing from his own script and while some of the film feels a bit silly at times (some moments intentionally so, but a number of others not so much) it still holds up overall as a pretty brutal and bloody fun time. The film is complimented most by the number of well known and talented cast members included, such as Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Titus Welliver, Ron Eldard, Michael Eklund and a number of others, all of whom deliver pretty decent performances in each of their respective roles. Beau Mirchoff (while not by any means horrible) delivers probably the weakest performance of the movie in the lead role of Jeter, although I’ve certainly seen far worse performances in my day.
‘Poker Night’ may have its faults, but as a whole it delivers decent brutal and bloody fun, a somewhat intriguing mystery and a powerful cast composed of numerous extremely talented individuals. It also has some hilariously twisted moments, reminiscent of a demented dark comedy, and a number more sequences that are grisly, intense and quite well done. Unfortunately some of the performances are not overly impressive and these individuals being thrown into the mix with so many other highly talented actors makes their less notable acting skills just that much more noticeable. All in all, while it’s certainly not the most breathtaking or phenomenal film you’ll find this year, ‘Poker Night’ does deliver a good amount of fun if you take it for what it is and it would not be a bad selection for a nice relaxing night’s viewing.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Poker Night’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty solid as a whole, the colors, backgrounds and movement is all sharp and clear, even the numerous darker and fast moving sequences are always easily discernible. Aside from some mild and nearly unnoticeable bits of noise or artifacts, it holds up in most every way; for the smaller film that it is, this high definition video presentation is more than adequate and looks pretty great overall.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which sounds quite decent and is also surprisingly active. This lossless multichannel soundtrack frequently takes advantage of all five available channels, with the score immersing itself throughout in addition to natural background elements, and debris or clatter from bullets, chains or other various objects during the scenes with action or a lot of activity occurring; all the while rarely detracting from the audibility of any dialogue occurring simultaneously, although there was one or two brief moments I had to skip back or flip on the subtitles. Overall, while it may not be perfect, this is a capable, fairly active and enjoyable 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should easily please most folks out there.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Poker Night’ unfortunately doesn’t include anything in the way of bonus content aside from the Theatrical Trailer.
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