Runner, Runner Blu-Ray Review

runner runner blu-ray review

When I first saw the trailers for “Runner, Runner” earlier this year, I thought for sure it was going to be about online poker and the shady dealings that go on behind the scenes. And while the general overall theme of the flick dealt with online poker, it didn’t revolve around it as much as I thought it would.

Justin Timberlake plays Richie Furst, a grad student who has been paying his tuition by getting people to sign up for online gambling sites. He wasn’t actually doing any of the gambling himself, but just by referring people to the sites, he was getting a cut of each player. This method of referring people to other sites is commonly known as affiliate marketing. Every time Justin Timberlake got a person to sign up for these gambling sites, deposit real money, and play x amount of hands with that money, he got paid. This part of the story actually hit close to home with me because I used to do this exact thing when I was in college. Online poker was still huge and still hadn’t been banned in the US, so I was able to pull in a few thousand dollars a month getting people to sign up for these poker sites. The fun didn’t last long once the government cracked down on everything, but it brought a sense of reality to this movie that most movies don’t have for me.

The meat of the plot comes in to play when Justin Timberlake gets confronted by the dean of the college over his shady dealings. And while he wasn’t actually gambling, the dean was fielding a lot of complaints about how Furst was causing all these people to lose money. In response to those complaints, the dean told him that he had to stop or risk being kicked out of school. So with his last $17,000 Furst jumps into online poker himself and tries to win his tuition by playing the odds. After going up pretty big, he hits a streak where he ends up losing it all. And after carefully looking at the odds of some of the play these players were making, he comes to the conclusion that he was cheated. And rather than just sit back and let his money disappear, he decides to confront Ivan Block (played by Ben Affleck), the owner of the online poker site.

Upon arriving in Costa Rica and confronting Ivan Block, he’s made an offer to stay down there and work for him. And that’s when the cliches start happening. Pretty much everything you thought would happen between Block and Furst, happens. The two timing, the setups, the back stabbing, everything. The movie plays out almost as you would expect it from there on out. Now that’s not to say it was a bad movie, it’s just predictable. I thought Timberlake and Affleck did a decent job in this one, but I kind of expected more after Affleck had just come off Argo, but for all I know this movie could have been shot before Argo and left to simmer till afterwards. Either way, the acting is ok for this type of movie and it held my attention for the duration. Like I said, it wasn’t the greatest movie I’ve seen last year, but it wasn’t the worst.

As with most blu-ray’s at this point, the video and audio quality are both outstanding. My only complaint is that things might have been a bit too saturated for my taste, but overall it looked great. And the audio sounded pretty good to me. There aren’t a whole lot of action scenes, so the use of the rear channels kind of faltered, but the voices and everything in front of you sounds amazing.

As for the special features, there’s not a ton here. About 10 minutes of deleted scenes, a 17 minute behind-the-scenes featurette which I liked a lot since it deals with the world of online poker and cheating, and then the theatrical trailer.

If I had to make a recommendation regarding this flick, I’d say just rent it. It’s worth checking out if this kind of thing interests you. If you liked the movie “21” about the blackjack players in Vegas, then you’ll probably enjoy this one, but I can’t recommend buying it.