Reviewed by Joe Soria

In short: The movie has great action, an amazing sex scene and good performances all around. Sinise is specially good as the villain. A funny action thriller with great plot twists.

What kind of movie would you expect for a film titled Reindeer Games? A hunting movie starring a guy named Bubba with his favorite lady, a rifle.  That's incorrect. Maybe you would expect a war movie with camouflage and bloody war scenes.  That'd be wrong as well. Reindeer Games is actually the title of a new action film starring Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron which is also directed by suspense master John Frankenheimer.

Reindeer Games has a terrible first act.  Rudy (Ben Affleck) is in prison.  He is soon to be released.  The first 20 minutes or so are very slow and boring.  It is just a necessary set up for the rest of the film.   It establishes Affleck as a criminal.  He and his cellmate are due to be freed very soon.  There is a mix-up- and his cellmate is killed.  Rudy pretends to be him when he gets out so a woman that he has never met will fell better. Basically, he’s a lonely man, who hasn't seen a woman in years, and wants to be comforted by a woman.

The film is slow at first but gets better when Affleck gets out of jail. A very intense sex scene helps out that speed. This film becomes Affleck’s best starring vehicle of his short (post Good Will Hunting) career.  Good Will Hunting was only like two years ago but it feels like much longer. Affleck and his writing buddy Damon have just been all over in these last two years. These two men have charisma and are developing into usable Hollywood actors. You can expect a good performance from them no matter what. My fondest memories of Affleck are from Chasing Amy and Dogma but that’s my view. Affleck’s weaker roles can be seen in Forces of Nature, Phantoms, and Armageddon (a movie I have true hatred against). The bright light shines for Affleck in Reindeer Games. He is likable, believable, and funny.

Charlize’s character is more of a stretch but that doesn't matter. She is just so hot and surprisingly, in some extreme cases, she can act. Unlike many of the popular leading ladies in Hollywood right now can just not act. I’ve been saying it again and again. My main proof is still Patricia Arquette, she’s just so bad. I mean Stigmata, terrible. Then there was her turn in the brilliant Bringing Out the Dead. She was the sore thumb of the film. Theron is hot, steamy, and mesmerizing.

Dennis Farina puts in an excellent comical turn as the owner the casino that Sinise and his crew are planning to be robbed; he is very funny. But the best part of the film is the villain Gary Sinise. Sinise has played such a wide array of characters. The astronaut Ken Mattingly who has to stay home due to sickness in Apollo 13, Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, the villain in Ransom and now the evil small time con with a plan in this film. The scene that I point out as the best in the film are the scenes involving casing the casino and the actual attempt of robbery. Writer Ehren Kruger wrote some very unexpected but not original twists and turns. These turns are not as good as the ones in his previous piece of excellence, Arlington Road.  Also look for the steamy sex sequences and a very funny scene including a dartboard and Ben Affleck’s face. 

For the $65 million dollars that was put into Reindeer Games (the most expensive for its studio so far), the product is a very good action film with excellent acting, and intense action sequences topped off by a great villain played by Gary Sinise. Now it’s time to see the public’s reaction to a smart film script out on the screen. Will they act like they did for Sixth Sense and make it flourish,  or it will it be like the hilarious Office Space and be avoided by the plague?

Rating 2.5 out of 4 stars/ 61 out of 100
Cast: Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, Gary Sinise, Danny Trejo, Clarence Williams III
Director: John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Ronin)
Ehren Kruger (Arlington Road, Scream 3)
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality.

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