In most poker games, a “gutshot straight” is something of a long shot, and certainly not a safe bet. That might be an appropriate analogy for an upcoming movie of the same name, which hasn’t garnered a lot of buzz yet, but is hoping to draw on the excitement of poker to thrill audiences at theaters late this summer.
Steven Seagal is set to star in “Gutshot Straight,” a film set for release in North America on September 1. The film also features Ted Levine, Tia Carrere, and George Eads, among others. It is directed by Justin Steele, who has a short list of previous credits that includes the 2010 film “Death and Creation”.
The script was written by Jerry Rapp, who has been behind such projects as “Mojave Phone Booth” and “Moving Alan”. So far, very little information has been released about the film, but a trailer has given some basic insight into what the plot of the movie may be.
It appears as though “Gutshot Straight” won’t be primarily about the action at the poker table itself, something that could either upset poker fans or save them from potentially unrealistic depictions of the game. Instead, the story appears to be about a character named Jack (Eads), a poker player who finds himself in debt to some shady characters and needs to find some fast cash to save his skin. He may get help from Paulie Trunks (Seagal), who seems to take a liking to Jack.
The trailer also makes it clear that this is going to be a film with plenty of action and violence, which should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed Seagal’s career. There are fight scenes, murders, gunplay and attempts to hide bodies, none of which has much to do with the intricacies of post-flop Hold’em strategy. Well, generally speaking anyway.
Likely, poker will act more as a plot device than a focus in “Gutshot Straight,” then. But the film will still inevitably be compared to other poker movies, even if it doesn’t want to cover the same territory.
While it’s too early to be certain, it seems unlikely that this effort will live up to 1998’s “Rounders,” which is often cited as the best modern era poker movie. That film followed law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) as he played in underground poker games, turned away from poker, and then got dragged back in when old friend Worm (Edward Norton) needs his help. “Rounders” also features memorable performances from John Malkovich, Martin Landau and Gretchen Mol.
On the other hand, “Gutshot Straight” might look to at least be better received than last year’s “Runner Runner”. That film tried to tell a story in the world of online poker, incorporating ideas from real life events like Black Friday and the Absolute Poker “superuser” scandal into its plot.
But “Runner Runner” was ultimately panned by critics and audiences alike. Justin Timberlake starred as college student Richie Furst, who believes he has been cheated by an online poker site. He then travels to Costa Rica to confront the site’s owner, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), who instead tries to get Richie to work for him.
We won’t know if “Gutshot Straight” catches its inside card at the box office until September.