By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
“Runner Runner” was more like a short walk when it was released briefly in theaters last September. With an all-star cast including Ben Affleck (fresh from “Argo”), Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton, this crime thriller about the high stakes world of online gambling had the earmarks of a hit. But, for some reason—mediocre reviews or bad timing—it never got out of the blocks.
However, audiences have a second chance to see JT and the next Batman square off in Costa Rica over a girl and money with “Runner Runner” available Tuesday, Jan. 7 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Timberlake plays poker-loving tech-savvy Princeton grad student Richie, who gambles and loses his tuition money on an online gambling site run by Affleck’s Ivan Block. Doing the math afterward, he figures he’s been swindled. With his last bit of cash, Richie heads to Central America to ask for his money back. Block is surprisingly compliant with Richie’s request, but then makes him an offer he knows the enterprising young financial whiz can’t refuse: a high-level position in his lucrative but mostly illegal offshore operation. Richie not only accepts the high-paying job, he convinces a couple of college buddies to join him. Soon, though, Richie discovers Ivan’s darker side—the tycoon is in the habit of feeding chicken carcasses to a pond of hungry crocodiles, so what else is he capable of? Reckless Richie woos Ivan’s Girl Friday (Arterton), who may or may not be loyal to her boss.
To complicate matters, an FBI agent (Anthony Mackie) pressures Richie to help bring down Block or face the prospect of forever being exiled from the United States. Richie, having learned a trick or two from his mentor, hatches a plan that will give him the winning hand.
The “Runner Runner” DVD contains deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD edition offers those bonuses as well as a featurette called “House of Cards—The Inside Story of Online Poker.”