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Case Number 17887: Small Claims Court

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The Gambler, The Girl, And The Gunslinger

E1 Entertainment // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power (Retired) // December 11th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Steve Power's got half a bottle, a loaded shootin' iron, and a full house. Let the chips fall where they may.

The Charge

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher.

The Case

BJ (James Tupper, Me and Orson Wells) is just making his way in the west, living day to day running his ranch. He's got his gun, his swanky trench coat, and his red headed gal (Allison Hossack, Reaper). Then slick hustler Shea (Dean Cain, Rat Race) wins half of Thundering Ranch in a high stakes card game. As if having to deal with a fast talking scumbag as a partner weren't enough, BJ's got an army of 500 Banditos being led by a French general coming his way, a US Cavalry commander who wants to blow his place sky high, and he still has to figure out why SoCal suddenly looks like Whistler, BC in the early Fall.

The Gambler, The Girl, and the Gunslinger is a Canadian production made for The Hallmark Channel and unceremoniously dumped to DVD. That should tell you all that you need to know. The script, such that it is, is predictable and completely stock "oater" material, and while the cast looks like they're really having fun, they don't sell their roles in the slightest. One Mexican Bandito even keeps slipping into his mainland Canada brogue. James Tupper tries the hard, but he just comes off as rough as sandpaper. Dean Cain is just collecting his paycheck and adding to his lengthy resume, and the villains are not even worth mentioning.

There's a bit of action on display, but it pretty much universally sucks. The big showdown we're anticipating for the entire movie is washed away in a sea of ridiculous Deus Ex machina, though (and I don't care if this is a spoiler) the turkey does wind up blowing the ranch to smithereens. This happens of course after the Bandito with the Toronto drawl impales himself on a Kaiser helmet. What? I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. If you rent this movie, you'll have a great time…if you're drunk. Or maybe insane.

So, now you know the movie is a waste of time. If you were holding out for some nice scenery, you'll also be disappointed. It's not that British Columbia ain't a pretty looking place to film a western, but the DVD is a rancid pile. There's aliasing, edge enhancment, shimmer, crazy amounts of black crush, and enough compression to make most of the backgrounds look like an oil painting. The extras are worth the 10 minutes or so of your time, but they're all filmed in standard ratio and stretched to anamorphic widescreen. Sloppy, very sloppy.

The Verdict

Hang this sucker.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 55

Perp Profile

Studio: E1 Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Drama
• Television
• Western

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette
• Interviews
• Photo Gallery


• IMDb

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