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From the day it was released in theaters, I had heard how Runner Runner had been one of the worst-reviewed movies of the year. Regardless, I decided to give it a watch since it hit Blu-Ray/DVD. Honestly, it’s not as bad as I heard it was. It wasn’t a good, but it wasn’t horrible either.
Directed by Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer), Runner Runner follows Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), a college student who is having trouble paying his tuition. To help financially, he tries his hand at online poker. When he realizes he’s been cheated, he travels to Costa Rica to meet face to face with Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), the man who he thinks cheated him. After a persuasive conversation, Block convinces Furst to work for him, in order to become extremely wealthy and powerful. Over time, FBI agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie) starts questioning him, and Furst must decide which side is really worth being on.
The movie had its weak points, but I think the thing that saved it from complete failure was its casting choices. Even though none of the casts’ performances were memorable, it made watching the film bearable. Affleck played a solid role of a sly, menacing crime boss, while Timberlake proves once again he’s able to take on a leading role. Support comes from the lovely Gemma Arterton and the underrated Anthony Mackie.
Surprisingly, with a movie that doesn’t have a ton going for it, the script could’ve been a lot worse. I think the film was decently written for what it’s worth, and overall it helped with the films’ goal of creating a decent crime thriller.
All-in-all, Runner Runner is a hit-or-miss trek. If you want to rent it just to watch it over once; watch with little expectations. If you decide to pass up on it, you won’t be missing a whole lot.
My Reel Rating: 4.5/10
Written by Josh Sazin on January 9th, 2014