Gambit (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 18, 2014 by  


While a modern remake of “Gambit” may have made a fascinating film, if the plot was unchanged… unfortunately this heist comedy remake was not funny and mildly entertaining.

Image are courtesy of © Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Gambit


DURATION: 89 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Suggestive Control, Partial Nudity and a Rude Gesture)

RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2014

Directed by Michael Hoffman

Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Short Story by Sidney Carroll

Produced by Mike Lobell, Rob Paris, Adam Ripp

Executive Producer: Philip Elway, Rizal Risjad

Associate Producer: Brett Hedblom

Music by Rolfe Kent

Cinematography by Florian Ballhaus

Edited by Paul Tothill

Casting by Elaine Grainger, Lucinda Syson

Production Design by Stuart Craig

Art Direction by Neil Lamont, Hattie Storey

Set Decoration by Edward McLoughlin, Stephenie McMillan

Costume Design by Jenny Beavan


Colin Firth as Harry Deane

Cameron Diaz as PJ Puznowski

Tom Courtenay as The Major

Alan Rickman as Lionel Shahbandar

Cloris Leachman as Grandma Merle

Stanley Tucci as Martin Zaidenweber

Harry Deane (Colin Firth) is a man with a plan. Art curator for media tycoon Lord Lionel Shabandar (Alan Rickman), Harry devises an elaborate plot to con his abusive boss, Shabandar, into purchasing a take Monet painting. With the help of beautiful rodeo queen PJ Puznowski (Cameron Diaz), Harry hatches a scheme to fool Shabandar into believing that Harry’s expert forgery is the real deal, pocketing a hefty sum in the process. But with the con proving harder to pull off than they had first intended, Harry and PJ find themselves in increasingly hilarious situations in order to see the job through to the end.

As there has been talk about remaking the 1966 heist film “Gambit” starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine, for over a decade, the possibilities were there with Joel and Ethan Coen writing the screenplay,  the question was whether or not the film would be made into a feature film.

As far back in 2008, there was talk of Colin Firth of starring in the film but nothing would materialize until 2011 when filmmaker Michael Hoffman (“A Midsummer night’s Dream”, “One Fine Day”)agreed to direct the film and eventually Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”, “A Single Man”), Tom Courtenay (“The Golden Compass”, “Billy Liar”, “Doctor Zhivago”), Alan Rickman (“Harry Potter” films, “Die Hard,”, “Galaxy Quest”), Cameron Diaz (“There’s Something About Mary”, “Being John Malkovich”, “Gangs of New York”), Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Captain America”) and Cloris Leachman (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Young Frankenstein”) would be cast for the film.

And now “Gambit” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in May 2014.

“Gambit” revolves around British art curator Harry Deane (portrayed by Colin Firth) who wants revenge on his abusive boss, Lord Shabandar (portrayed by Alan Rickman).

Lord Shabandar has ridiculed, physically assaulted and has had his way with Harry that Harry has had enough.  So, his plan is to steal his money.

Harry brings in his friend The Major (portrayed by Tom Courtenay), a man who can easily duplicate paintings and to find a lost Monet, which he can sell for millions but first selling the fake version to Lord Shabandar.  But in order to get him to purchase the painting, he needs the help of woman who is a heavy drinker and what best than to find someone in Texas.  That person happens to be PJ Puznowski (portrayed by Cameron Diaz), a rodeo queen who’s goal is to pretend she is the owner of the Claude Monet painting and get Lord Shabandar to purchase it.

And if they succeed, Harry, the Major and PJ will be wealthy.

But will they succeed?  And will any of them have second thoughts of going on with this scheme?



“Gambit” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1).  Picture quality is fantastic as the film features a lot of outdoor scenes and showcases plenty of colors.  Skin tones are natural, closeups feature plenty of detail and overall, the film is well-saturated. I did not notice any banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.


“Gambit” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA.  The film is primarily dialogue driven, with the surround channels used for ambiance.  For the most part, dialogue is crystal clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English and English SDH.


“Gambit” comes with no special features.

Sometimes when you see remakes from Hollywood, you think to yourself and wonder if people have lost the creativity to create original films because remaking the 1966 version of “Gambit” really made no sense.

While the Coen brothers are known for their hit films that have received critical praise worldwide, the brothers have had a few writing duds, and “Gambit” is one of them.

Not only does the film receive a new story instead of a modern remake, the changes to the original film unfortunately dumbs down what made the original film entertaining.

Changed in the story is the characters of Harry Deane and the female protagonist.  In the original, Harry was a cat burglar, in this 2012 film, he is a disgruntled employee wanting revenge.

For the female character, exotic showgirl Nicole Chang is replaced with Texas rodeo champ PJ Puznowski.  Because of this change, the whole London meets Texas girl storyline is rather uninteresting.  To have actress Cameron Diaz talk in Texas twang and have her sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” to Japanese businessmen was a bit too much.

The original film was fascinating and entertaining as it focused on the relationship between Harry and Nicole and his life of crime.  You felt the thrill of the heist, the melodramatic twist to the plot but an ending that left you with a smile on your face.

But the story for the modern version of “Gambit” felt out-of-place.  The talent that were cast for the film outside of Firth, Diaz and Rickman, were underused, the jokes were not funny and the film’s only redeeming value is the performance by Colin Firth.

While the picture quality on Blu-ray looks gorgeous and the dialogue is crystal clear, there are no special features on this Blu-ray, so it’s a barebones release.

While a modern remake of “Gambit” may have made a fascinating film, if the plot was unchanged… unfortunately this heist comedy remake was not funny and mildly entertaining.

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