Before I went to see this film, I will admit that I was a little skeptical about whether Justin Timberlake’s acting chops would be able to measure up to his awesome musical talent. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Timberlake was able to hold his own alongside Oscar winner Ben Affleck. ‘Runner Runner’ is a mystery gangster thriller about the surprisingly glamorous and cutthroat world of online gambling. The film stars Justin Timberlake as Richie, a desperately indebted University student who decides to try and use to online gambling in order to pay off his sixty thousand dollar tuition fee. After Richie’s luck runs out and he loses all his savings in poker game, he believes that the site has cheated him. So, Richie jets off to Costa Rica and decides to confront the owner, online gambling tycoon and mobster Ivan Block (played by Ben Affleck). Ivan sees potential in the young finance student and decides to offer him a job in his company with a six-figure salary. Richie is suddenly thrown into a flashy new lifestyle with fast cars, luxury yachts, lavish parties, beautiful women and more money than he knows what do with. Richie thinks he is living the dream. However, soon realizes that his new job involves a lot more than he bargained for.
This film has all the markers of an old fashioned gangster mystery film: with macho mobsters, exotic locations and snappy dialogue. However, Runner Runner re-vamps this classic genre with a sexy and exiting new twist. The unexpected plot twists kept me guessing as things for Richie spiral slowly out of control. Affleck and Timberlake gave solid, believable performances (and provided some much needed eye candy!) Ben Affleck’s good looks along with his killer, coldhearted charm made him well suited to the role of billionaire baddie Ivan. However, in my opinion British actress Gemma Arterton did not have enough onscreen presence to make a convincing love interest for superhunks Affleck and Timberlake. I think someone with more sex appeal like Scarlet Johanson would have been better able to carry the role.
The action sequences ticked all the right boxes but they didn’t pack quite enough of a punch to keep me at the edge of my seat. If Director Brad Furlong could have turned up the action a little more, this would have helped to keep the momentum going in the film. My main criticism would be that the pace is a bit slow at times. Apart from that, this action adventure flick has enough going on to make it more than just another guy movie. This film has humor, witty one liners and a good love story too.
I would definitely recommend going to see this one.
3 Stars ★★★✰✰