Gutshot Straight maybe had the best intentions at being a solid crime-drama but instead falls far short with a half-baked plot, some so-so acting despite a respectable supporting cast led by Stephen Lang and Ted Levine, and shoddy editing that stymied any momentum early on.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama
Lionsgate | R – 89 min. – $26.98 | December 2, 2014
THE MOVIE – 1.75/5
When I saw both Steven Segal and Vinnie Jones name’s attached to this, I knew a couple of things going in: 1) both were only going to be cameo appearances and 2) this was not exactly going to be high quality material and sadly, I was right on both fronts, though credit to George Eads, he at least makes for an amiable lead, even if it’s more or less him still playing his Nick Stokes character on “CSI.”
Gutshot Straight is the latest of the poker-crime-drama, in the same vein as Shade starring Sylvester Stallone and Stuart Townsend, a story which is half baked and kind of makes no sense at its core.
Jack (GEORGE EADS) is a down-on-his-luck poker player in debt with Las Vegas thug Paulie Trunks (STEVEN SEGAL) and gets a beatdown by Paulie’s enforcer, Carl (VINNIE JONES). In the need of money, he is befriended by an eccentric millionaire named Duffy (STEPHEN LANG) and after making a few hundred bucks with some interesting bets – opening a bottle top with cash and breaking said bottle with bare hands – Jack goes to Duffy’s palatial mansion in the middle of the Vegas desert and after some pleasantries, offers Jack $10,000 to sleep with his wife, May (ANNALYNN MCCORD) and $20,000 if Jack allows him to watch.
Upon declining, since he’s not into anything that kinky I suppose, Duffy threatens Jack’s life and punches him out in the outside pool. Jack awakens to find May had dried his clothes for him and she basically seduces him and the pair begin to make-out where Duffy appears all the ready to pay up on his bet, this time $50,000 to watch, but once again, Jack is offended and declines. In a struggle that ensues, Jack accidentally kills him leading to much more chaos than he was already into before as Duffy is a powerful man… and has a vindictive brother (TED LEVINE) who gets on his case soon enough.
Make no mistake, Gutshot Straight isn’t a good movie. The screenplay, by Jerry Rapp (Mojave Phone Booth), doesn’t have the sharpest dialogue and a thin plot which I think attempts to be a dark comedy but fails or a crime drama where, again, it fails; the acting is so-so where George Eads doesn’t come across any different than his performance on “CSI” and the other supporting cast don’t get a whole lot to do, save for Ted Levine who is serviceable as a villain while Segal and Jones once again are mere cameos; and the editing is sloppy and disjointed that any suspense or momentum can’t be established.
Helmed by Justin Steele, perhaps somewhere there’s a good movie in there, but as it stands, Gutshot Straight is another direct-to-video flick destined to be lost with the rest despite the best efforts of those involved. Perhaps not the worst I’ve come across even this year, it’s still one that can be completely skipped.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
Audio Commentary – Director Justin Steele and Composer Keith Waggoner give their thoughts on the film and some background on how it was made. It’s an honest track as the pair don’t skip past Segal’s ridiculous hairpiece…
Behind the Scenes (20:58) offers some behind-the-scenes footage alongside interviews with members of the cast and crew giving their insight into the project.
Deleted Scenes (2:01) are a short set of scenes that, for one reason or another, were cut.
Theatrical Trailer (2:05)
VIDEO – 3.5/5 | AUDIO – 3.0/5
Gutshot Straight arrives on DVD with a strange transfer I’ve seen where the opening and end credits are 1.85 while the film itself is 2.40. Even so, the picture does have your usual artifacts and colors are bit more muted in keeping with the darker themes.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is fine but nothing amazing with good dialogue levels but everything else seems to be relegated to the center channel although the music and score does crop up coming through the rear channels, but it’s minimal.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Gutshot Straight maybe had the best intentions at being a solid crime-drama but instead falls far short with a half-baked plot, some so-so acting despite a respectable supporting cast led by Stephen Lang and Ted Levine, and shoddy editing that stymied any momentum early on. The DVD released by Lionsgate does at least have some OK selection of bonus features while the video/audio transfers were passable.