Brady Hawkes, The Gambler, receives a letter from his son indicating he needs help. This sends Brady to the rescue. Along the way Brady meets up with Billy Montana, a young man who thinks he knows everything about playing cards. Brady teaches Billy a few lessons along the way and they end up forming a strong friendship and team up together.


“The Gambler” is one of those movies that reminds me of childhood. It’s not like my family had a huge Kenny Rogers hang-up, but The Gambler or one of its many sequels was always on television at some point. Now, Kenny Rogers is more of a hipster joke about bygone eras. If you will, I’d like to have you stop watching the World Series and take a chance on a rather flawed, but strong TV-movie Western. It’s got the guy from Tron in it!

Jim Byrnes’ hackneyed, by-the-numbers script offers no unusual or surprising plot developments, but fortunately Dick Lowry’s competent direction, Larry Cansler’s robust, rousing, flavorsome score, and Joseph Biroc’s handsome cinematography compensate for the trite story. The top-rate cast qualifies as another major asset: Harold Gould as a powerful, arrogant railroad baron, Christine Belford as Rogers’ neglected, estranged wife, Lee Purcell as a plucky former lowly whore turned proud high society lady, Lance LeGault as a cunning, but honorable card sharp, and Clu Gulager as a mean, grasping brute with a secret grudge against Rogers.

The Blu-Ray comes with a DVD copy. What makes the presentation so killer is that 1080p transfer that is accurately framed for the first time in the film’s release. The DTS-HD 2.0 master audio track does the best with the original audio sources. It’s not like this film could’ve looked any better. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to fans.

RELEASE DATE: 11/05/2013

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