Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 5th, 2006
Let me admit straight away, I generally do not watch very many foreign films with subtitles. If a film is not dubbed in English, I generally pass. It’s not for a lack of tolerance. When I watch a film, I immerse myself into what I’m seeing. Films are total escapist fun. I experience a film more than view it. Having to read the dialogue denies me the ability to experience rather than watch the film. I also find that while I am busy reading subs I will tend to miss some of the film’s subtleties, which are quite important to me. In Gamblers, there is the added liability of dual languages. There is a prominent Asian element to this film. It took me too long to realize that more than one language was being spoken and that some of the characters could not understand others. The subs are presented with no distinction as to who is speaking or what language they are speaking. OK. End of disclosure.
As far as I could make out, Gamblers involves a territorial street gang that is somewhere between the mob and the IRA. In typical “Bloods” vs. “Crips” style, there is a reasonable amount of mayhem between two of these street gangs. Unfortunately we are never brought into the workings of either gang, and the violence appears simply as a result of one Asian boy’s love for an Asian girl. To add to the silliness of the whole premise, the violence results simply because Juen is bothering the girl while she is supposed to be working. A series of inexplicable romantic relationships is never fleshed out enough for us to care. Unless something serious was lost in translation, the dialogue is very simple tripe. An entire romantic conversation seems to be about nothing but another man’s penis. Fortunately much of the music is in English.
Gamblers is presented in what I assume to be its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The print is rather dark and often too blue in tint. The resolution is quite good, but colors are often lost in the dark blue style. Contrast is average, with black levels that are slightly better than average. There isn’t much, if any, print damage.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is available only in French. It’s a bit harder for me to judge the mix, as most of my concentration is spent reading the subs. Unfortunately this film is extremely dialogue heavy. The source music is fine, but nothing dynamic. This sounds pretty much like a decent television broadcast..
I suspect the subtitles were incomplete. I ended up feeling that I missed a lot by the time the film mercifully ended. I would be interested to have someone who speaks French compare the two. This film requires tons of patience. Unfortunately the go-nowhere development does not warrant the effort. Unless you speak French, I would “Just let it go”.