Guns, Girls and Gambling (2011)
Directed by Michael Winnick
After the success of Pulp Fiction, there was a whole slew of Tarantino inspired spin-offs, similar to the endless parade of mafia flicks that followed The Godfather in the 1970s. Most of these were quite forgettable, but some were okay. While this trend faded away as even Quentin Tarantino moved in other directions, it’s back with a vengeance in Guns, Girls and Gambling.
From the opening sequence to the complex shifts in time, this film tries its best, with modest success, to be a present day Pulp Fiction. Even the cast, which includes Christian Slater and Gary Oldman is reminiscent of early Tarantino (both were in True Romance which QT wrote but did not direct).
The film also borrows from another 90s Tarantinoesque film, The Usual Suspects, most famous for its line, “Who is Keyser Soze?” One of the characters in Guns, Girls and Gambling turns out to be a similar mastermind of a whole string of unlikely events.
A movie that is derivative in so many ways is not destined for greatness, but Guns, Girls and Gambling still manages to be mostly entertaining. At least it doesn’t take itself at all seriously. I enjoyed it despite recognizing all the gimmicks that were unfolding scene after scene.
The plot is way too complex to summarize coherently, but it’s basically about a group of Elvis impersonators who compete (often violently) to find a Native American mask that was stolen from a casino. Christian Slater plays a man known as John Smith who gets beaten up in practically every scene.
The movie introduces so many freaky characters that it’s almost a parody of a Tarantino film. Considering that Tarantino’s work itself is blatantly derivative, by the time you start parodying him you’re on rather thin ice creatively speaking. It’s kind of like a painter copying Andy Warhol.
The most absurd character is probably a tall blond assassin who looks like a model. She walks around wearing two holstered guns and quotes Edgar Allen Poe before blowing her victims away. Remember the Daryl Hannah character in Kill Bill?
If you’re bored and a fan of Tarantino circa 1990s, you will probably enjoy Guns, Girls and Gambling despite your better judgement. Unlike Pulp Fiction, however, which fans can watch over and over again, watching this one more than once would be rather tedious.