Well, where can I begin? The film does start in a strange fashion, with quick editing to get the ball rolling (no pun intended) as quickly as possible. It will later transpire that there are quite a few twists and turns in the story, hence the quick beginning. But once we are past the opening sequences and we see the first game of 8-ball, the film slows down and shows it's strengths. There is certainly an element of the film "Rounders" in this film; hustle to get the better of your opposite man. However, what was portrayed in "Rounders" was (in my personal opinion) not even conceived in this film. Many many sequences came about where you can see a certain scene, suck your teeth and think: "Hell, they could have done it better in such a way...." And the sad part about that is that it actually happens in the middle of the film too! But the mid-to-end part of the film does wrap up quite nicely.
The visuals within the film are frantic and well shot. Quodos to Keoni Waxman for showing such a different forray of shots; the sleazy underworld, the wonderful city shots and the added bonus of Pool-Hall terms being printed and written across angled camera-shots - I liked it. Oh - and I can't miss out the scenes where they are actually playing 8-ball! They were well shot and edited - albeit, when someone is playing pool, we always want to see the whole table and see the shots in their entirety, but that would mean sitting through 8 hours of extra film! But as we all know, we aren't here to necessarily be wow'ed by visuals in a film. A film should be the whole ten yards (no - I am not talking about the film, I mean it as a phrase...).
Ving Rhames was waaay below par in this film, Freddy Prinz Jnr did an adequate job, the divine Roselyn Sanchez played quite well, albeit her history in the story does not need to be actually in there, and finally Callum Keith Rennie does a good performance, but his character was written in what seems to be a hurried way. The whole crew was (if you can imagine the analogy) put into a blender, served up with whipped cream and a cherry on top, when you are expecting something bitter. It didn't blend at all well, the acting between the people. But as I stated in my title: "good to waste a Sunday night...." - no more, no less.
What we don't need to have is people now lambasting a film in simple words of: "Yes, this is better than..." or "No-one can make a film of such a story better than...." This film, in it's own right, is a film that was straight-to-DVD/video and quite rightly so. No way would it have performed in the cinemas with this summer's blockbusters. It is going to be one of those films that people rent when they have run out of films to watch. But I hope that this review will raise a touch more interest than that. Yes, I haven't given it glaring and massive praise, but who needs it when the likes of "Crash", "Batman Begins", "War of The Worlds", "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "The Wedding Crashers" are all due for release at the same time? Give it a go, but don't expect too much. It's entertaining (especially the end actually - I wasn't expecting it!) and keeps you watching. What most of us need when there is nothing on TV!