13 is a slow-burning thriller with a phenomenal main plot and messy execution. Five years after the release of the French movie 13 Tzameti, director Gela Babluani made an English-speaking remake. And while the original was this tastefully artsy and gritty psychological thriller, this remake comes off as just too commercial. Depending on the mood you’re in, you might find it either fascinating or just boring. The whole tournament concept is a familiar one but 13 is a movie that puts it on its head.
I don’t want to reveal too much as this is one of the movie’s biggest selling points. That and a great cast. They’ve gathered all the tough actors from far and wide to make this one testosterone-drenched experience. I mean, we’ve got Statham, Rourke, Winstone, Shannon, and motherfucking Don Frye. Yes, the infamous Don Frye from the UFC is one of the handlers in this movie.
Sam Riley was excellent as Vince along with young Alexander Skarsgård proving that we should keep an eye out for other members of this family. However, I must say that 50 Cent simply cannot act! The man was only good at playing himself and that’s it. He should stick to rapping. Although I guess Shannon made up for him and then some. As was the case with the original, the suspense and tension will fucking kill you here.
At least they got that part right. I also liked the fact we don’t dwell too much on the backstories of the characters before jumping into the main story. This remake really doesn’t fuck around. However, we will learn more about each of the characters as time goes on. These scenes will provide a really nice break from all the sweaty intensity of the tournament. I think that its biggest problem is the fact that there have been too many movies that felt similar although they’re not.
With a running time of just ninety minutes, 13 is a movie you can start your movie night with. It’s not your usual action movie or even a thriller but something in between. You can look at it as a metaphor for life, this ruthless game we all play fully knowing the final outcome. And there will also be a couple of thought-provoking concepts along the way. Most of them revolve around morality and the age-old question of “what would you do”. So, what would you do?
Director: Géla Babluani
Writers: Gela Babluani, Greg Pruss
Cast: Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Alexander Skarsgård, Ray Winstone, 50 Cells, Ben Gazzara
Fun Facts: Ray Liotta was originally cast in the role of Detective Larry Mullane, a part that eventually went to David Zayas after Liotta had to bow out, due to a scheduling conflict.