Friday, January 13, 2012

'Poker Run' follows predictable trail

Poker Run (2009)
Starring: J.D. Rudometkin, Bertie Higgins, Robert Thorne, Jasmine Waltz, Debra Hopkins, Jay Wisell, and Skip Pipo
Director: Julian Higgins
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

A pair of successful lawyers (Higgins and Rudometkin) buy a pair of motorcycles and drag their wives (Hopkins and Waltz) on a mid-life crisis inspired Poker Run in the California desert. However, they fall prey to a pair of psychopathic bikers (Wisell and Thorne), who abduct the women and force the men to perform a series of murders that they frame them for.

"Poker Run" merges the "killer hicks" genre with motorcycles and throws in a dash of torture porn and "The Hitcher". It's mostly well-acted, technically competent, and very suspenseful at times. Unfortunately, it's also very, very predictable. If you've seem two "city folks in the back-country" horror movies prior to this one, you've seem most of what this film has to offer--not necessarily done better as there are a lot of crappy movies with that theme, but you will have seen it.

The strongest aspect of the film is the performance given by Robert Thorne, as the murderous master-manipulator who seems to have every resident of the California desert obeying his every psychotic whim in order to preserve their own lives. It also ultimately becomes one of the film's downfalls, because his control is so absolute and so far-reaching that viewers find themselves at a couple of occasions reacting more with a "Seriously?" rather than a "Oh, my God!"

Another performance worth mentioning is that given by Debra Hopkins. She gives such a perfect performance as a shrewish wife that I've not found myself wanting a character to be killed so badly since Barbara Shelley in "Dracula: Prince of Darkness".

"Poker Flats" is available in at least one DVD multi-pack where it is joined by two decent flicks and one weak one. It's worth the asking price when joined with other films--if you enjoy Killer Hicks movies--but I wouldn't waste my money on it as a stand-alone.


  1. Sounds pretty good - I wonder if that's the same Bertie Higgins who sang one of my mom's favorite pop songs of yesteryear - "Key Largo?"

  2. I think it is the same fellow... which means he's older than he looks!