Game of Aces

Game of Aces

2016, R, 97 min. Directed by Damien Lay. Starring Chris Klein, Victoria Summer, Werner Daehn, Randy Oglesby.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Sept. 2, 2016

The aces in this movie are not wild as in a deck of cards; instead they are pilots stuck in the Arabian Desert during World War I. German ace Captain Josef von Zimmerman (Daehn) is a double agent whose aircraft has been shot down in the middle of nowhere. Bearing intelligence meant for the British Allied Forces, the general (Oglesby) sends in a crew of two on a rescue mission: British nurse and German translator Eleanor Morgan (Summer) and the unconventional American ace Jackson Cove (Klein). Zimmerman, however, has contracted a case of amnesia as a result of his crash landing, so he’s forgotten that he’s a double agent and regards his rescuers as the enemy. Thus begins a cat-and-mouse chase across the desert that transpires by foot and by jeep and by any means necessary.

These dynamics are the setup for a creative chase scenario, although the film has too many weak elements that impede its smooth progression. In some technical ways, the ambitious film suffers from its tight budget. The Arabian Desert looks more like the deserts of California, and indeed, Game of Aces was filmed in Death Valley. The clothing appears contemporary rather than vintage, and I’d love to know the secrets of Eleanor’s beauty products that keep her lipstick bright red and the sand from caking in her heavy lashes. Shades of a bickering African Queen-like relationship between Eleanor and the American captain might engage viewers if only the repartee were wittier. The camerawork by Mark Christian keeps all the faces and action foregrounded, and sometimes inexplicably pushes the images outside the strict boundaries of the frame. Writer/director Damien Lay’s screenplay has some head-scratchers in addition to its flat dialogue, but it’s clear that the airplanes rather than the characters are his real passion. Unfortunately, his film never takes flight.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Chris Klein Films
American Reunion
Thirteen years after American Pie jump-started sexual innuendo for a new generation, this sequel is the best one in the series.

Marc Savlov, April 6, 2012

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
The director of Doom takes on another video-game franchise, this time one about a female martial artist seeking justice.

Marc Savlov, March 6, 2009

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
This Job Will Change Your Life
This Job Will Change Your Life
Former staff reflect on the zigs and zags of life post-Chronicle

Sept. 3, 2021

Nomadland
Story of America's itinerant population wanders too much

Feb. 19, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Game of Aces, Damien Lay, Chris Klein, Victoria Summer, Werner Daehn, Randy Oglesby

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle