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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.78%
Worth A Look: 11.02%
Just Average50.85%
Pretty Crappy: 12.71%
Sucks: 18.64%

10 reviews, 58 user ratings

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Reindeer Games
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by EricDSnider

"Ben Affleck and dead Santas."
3 stars

I'm a sucker for any film that starts by showing us a bunch of dead Santas. It means the comedy's gonna be black, and that nothing is sacred.

Alas, John Frankenheimer's "Reindeer Games" doesn't quite live up to that marker, but it does hit several high points as it spins a fun story in which no one is what they appear to be, and everyone wants someone else dead.

Rudy (Ben Affleck) has just been released from prison, at Christmastime, after doing five years for auto theft. Seeking something to live for, he takes up with Ashley (Charlize Theron), the pen-pal of his former cell-mate Nick, who was killed during a prison food fight just days earlier. Ashley thinks Rudy is Nick, and Rudy perpetuates that myth, especially as it gets him in the sack with her back at the hotel.

The real Nick, however, had worked at an obscure Michigan casino and therefore has inside knowledge as to how best rob the place -- information that Ashley's brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise) now wants so he and his band of goons can pull off the heist. Rudy can't come clean and admit he's not Nick, because he'll lose Ashley (who has professed love for him), so he goes on impersonating Nick, faking his way as much as he can.

Things go horribly awry, of course, and the film winds up highly reminiscent of "Reservoir Dogs," at least in terms of body count, and definitely in the "robberies-gone-bad" genre of films.

Theron is passable as the femme fatale; Affleck is better-than-average as Rudy. His natural niceness works for him here, as Rudy is not meant to be a hardened criminal; he's just a guy who wants to spend the holidays with his family for the first time in five years.

When "Reindeer Games" stays darkly funny, it works well, lifting it above your ordinary "caper" film, which is all it is otherwise. One of Gabriel's lowlife friends reads Business Weekly and questions the wisdom of having a majority of the year's retail sales crammed into one holiday period. Sinise has a number of fine moments as the quirky Gabriel, particularly one in which he uses Rudy as a dartboard. And then there's that finale with all the Santas.

Plot-wise, you have to believe it's possible for the entire world and all the Fates to be conspiring against one man. But get past that, and you've got an entertaining, if not entirely successful, dark comedy.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3842&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/05/03 06:08:24
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User Comments

11/27/09 Jeff Wilder Gets the job done. That's all it does. 3 stars
10/22/09 Rachel I really did not enjoy this movie and actually never finished watching it! 2 stars
3/14/09 Qeratk Hi! yYQQsZoI 1 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner This ones ok. 3 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday I enjoyed the twists to this, but they just seemed to keep coming. 3 stars
2/09/07 Heather I want to see believeable actors and the majority in this film just aren't. Cardboard! 2 stars
1/09/07 David Pollastrini Charlize Theron Looked hot! 4 stars
10/23/05 Jenny Tullwartz MISFIRE! Rudolph would've been all the poorer for joining in these reindeer games! 2 stars
10/23/05 Jenny Tullwartz MISFIRE! Rudolph would\'ve been all the poorer for joining in THESE reindeer games! 2 stars
8/26/05 ES Why does Gary Sinise keep doing this garbage, he's better than that 1 stars
3/13/05 Mr. Mooring Affleck is the WORST actor ever. 1 stars
1/16/05 Jeff Anderson Surprise, I actually liked this film. R.I.P. J. Frankenheimer (1930-2002), you'll be missed 5 stars
11/17/04 Jay Lo Affleck is wooden but Theron carries the film. 2 stars
1/07/04 A F Holy Crap did that suck and I'm from MN 1 stars
10/17/03 Josh Standlee Funny and action-packed. Gary Sinise should have recieved "The Best Villian for 2000" award 4 stars
6/06/03 Francis Implausible is right. Who writes this stuff? 3 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Energetic, but after a while you just don't give a hoot. 2 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Good twists and turns, but completely odious characters 4 stars
2/25/02 Jenny Tullwartz MISFIRE! Rudolph would've been all the poorer for joining in THESE reindeer games! 2 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden Almost Impossible To Enjoy...Almost Unwatchable. 1 stars
12/08/01 Joe Zappa "Reindeer Games" is awesome as Hell!!!!!! 4 stars
8/18/01 Dr. Thompson Ben Affleck bites like a chigger 1 stars
7/21/01 Slicer This is just plain old bullshit, kids. Implausible to the core. 1 stars
6/12/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Each film Affleck's in gets progressively worse. I'm gonna smack him, I swear. 1 stars
4/16/01 I love movies r u kiddin'? this movie rocked! 5 stars
4/09/01 Spetters Not good in any way, but strangely entertaining. 3 stars
3/12/01 Paperplate UFO I can't keep a straight face when Afflek tries to look tough. Pure comedy. 1 stars
2/21/01 R.W. Welch Has no real stand-out aspects, just manages to hold your attention. 3 stars
12/10/00 BrittenysPears I'll save you the rental fee. Affleck lives and gives all the money away THIS SUCKED 1 stars
11/26/00 Fred Good movie, especially Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron. 4 stars
11/13/00 Terrie Smith A few good moments here and there but nothing exceptional. 3 stars
10/16/00 Dave Thsi movie had it all!!! Even a naked 10 year old farm boy - wait that was Charlize.. 2 stars
10/01/00 Robin Ben is on the rise!!!!! Go boy! 5 stars
9/17/00 Paul I know this is an "Affleck friendly" site but this movie sux. Theron's acting sucks ass 1 stars
8/24/00 Add A nice throw away popcorn action thiller, doesn't challenge u but has a decent ending 3 stars
8/21/00 Monday Morning Ending twist was way too far fetched. Pretty entertaining overall but leave brain at home. 4 stars
8/21/00 The Bomb 69 good movie, liked the plot twist, the ending with the money was unrealistic though 4 stars
5/31/00 Trina M. Barnard slow start, but picks up. Love the twist 4 stars
4/08/00 Stacy This movie was good! Ben Affleck is so hot. 4 stars
4/03/00 The Ronin Damn Good Movie 5 stars
3/20/00 Laura i enjoyed the twists 4 stars
3/17/00 Lame-Oh not bad, but Fight Club was better 3 stars
3/13/00 Mortis Full of twist, visually excellent, pacing was great, Ben's great, he's actings improvbe big 4 stars
3/12/00 Aurora Great fun! Ben Affleck does a great job! 5 stars
3/12/00 Malbert Cool ending&Ben Affleck keep this movie from being completely horrible 2 stars
3/07/00 Fork Story? Hmm? The characters all thrown together were entertaining. And somehow fun to me. 4 stars
3/03/00 jake Charlize is quite possabily the world's WORST actress!!!! GAWD she sucked donkey balls!!!! 1 stars
2/29/00 PhilmPhreak More holes than a pound of swiss. 3 stars
2/29/00 Ben Ryan Think Ben Affleck was in his element here. Overall good plot, geez, too much fucking snow! 5 stars
2/29/00 NC Lightweight affable Affleck meets over-the-top psycho Sinise via dull babe Theron. Yawn. 1 stars
2/27/00 "Cracka 577" it sucked fat ass 1 stars
2/26/00 TimmyToday This was trying to be a comedy 1 stars
2/26/00 Michelle Excellent movie with an excellent cast! I don't usually like actions, but this one was A+ 5 stars
2/25/00 Kathy Fast paced and entertaining - nice ass 4 stars
2/19/00 Andi C. Good plot..entertaining 3 stars
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  25-Feb-2000 (R)


  05-Oct-2000 (MA)

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