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Fourteen men and women kick, shoot, dive, punch, and literally fall for the chance to work with one of the legends of American action cinema, Joel Silver, for a made-for to be aired later.  

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Tina Malave
Casting Directors: Victoria Burrows, Scot Boland, Josh Einsohn, Marki Costello
Creators: Gary R. Benz, Michael Branton
EP: Joel Silver, Gary R. Benz, Cris Abrego, Rick Telles,
Packager: Warner Bros. TV, Silver Pictures TV, GRB Entertainment, NBC Studios
Airs: Wedesdays at 8:00pm ET on NBC (replays Fridays at 11:00pm ET on GSN)


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"Bet Your Life" - August 4

We recap the TV shows that you happen to miss. You all know this. Tonight, however, we give you a new slogan - we cover the movie, so you don't have to watch it.

What am I talking about? The movie "Bet Your Life", which is the vehicle for the winners of The Next Action Star. This could be decent - or it could royally suck. It does have Billy Zane as a lead role, so it's not going to be too horrible - but you have to wonder what the heck he has been up to and why this is the best thing that he can get.

Anyway, Sean's character is Sonny Briggs, an ex-NFL player who owes $20,000 to the Vegas Mob. He picks up Carmine Flowers (Corinne, who looks like she's Caucasian - Michael Jackson, anyone?) who is working for Salvatore - the guy who is looking for Sean's money. After ditching Carmine and avoiding a helicopter who shoots a man right next to him, Sean doesn't find Salvatore, but he finds a different type of gambler named Joseph (Zane), who offers him a deal - if he can survive for 24 hours, the debt will be removed and he will earn $2.4 million - $100,000 for each hour survived. Sounds easy enough - until Sonny realizes that the guy that took the bullet for him took the same bet - and lost by ten minutes. Sonny takes a set of rules that Joseph has given him, and I realize that we are here for a retelling of "The Most Dangerous Game" - Vegas-style.

After a 15 minute head start, the chase is on. Sonny takes a limo ride by his best friend (Chuck) to the airport. It doesn't take too long for Zane's character to find Sonny - because Joseph put in tracers in Sonny's jacket. Joseph breaks through the limo's windshield and starts choking the life out of Sonny. Joseph almost succeeds in ending it right there - until Carmine finds both of them and starts shooting. Everyone gets out unscathed, but Joseph wants to find out who the gun woman is, as he doesn't like surprises.

Sonny gets to the airport and gets a ticket to Cleveland. Right behind him is Carmine, and right behind her is Joseph, who will take his own private flight. On the plane, Sonny runs into a weapons enthusiast who has his own shop. Carmine spots him - but she can't do much in a plane. Sonny buys off the guns from the dealer in exchange for his leather jacket - the jacket that Joseph hid tracers in.

On the way out, Sonny runs into a new taxi driver, who is played by JARED (the guy who came in the runner-up position). Welcome to showbiz, kid. Corinne follows on a freshly stolen Harley while Joseph takes to the air via helicopter. Joseph blows up the taxi - with the guy who took Sonny's jacket. Joseph blows up the taxi, but spares the weapons guy's life, while taking the sensor out of his jacket.

Sonny calls up Chuck in Vegas and has him get info on the Tower Casino - the place where Joseph's group set up shop and waited for him. Meanwhile, Carmine finds Sonny and the cab that Jared is driving. Jared's cab fares just as well as the other cab as it gets destroyed by a train. Fortunately, Jared and Sonny both get out of the taxi before the train hits, and Sonny gives Jared $10,000 worth of consolation money. I wonder how much that cost Jared in real life...

Sonny gets some new transportation as he buys a camper. Carmine is quickly on his tail - and Sonny spots the helicopter, making him wonder if there's anyone that doesn't know that he's in Cleveland. The camper doesn't survive Joseph and his mini-rocket launcher, but Sonny does, and he gets out of there right before Carmine gets to him.

Next method of transportation to destroy? A boat, as Sonny tried to find one that works. He doesn't get a boat - but he finds a water hose and uses it to flush Joseph out of the copter and into the river.

He gets out of there - but runs right into Carmine. He tries to talk his way out of it, but she isn't buying what he's selling and she starts smacking him around like her aunt Sally. At gunpoint, he comes clean to Carmine - and shows her the 'rules of the game' sheet that he still has. She says that she will protect him - for 50%. He argues for 30%, but Joseph shows up (with a truck that he bought by one of the fisherman at the river) and there's no time to haggle.

The scene next goes to a drawbridge, as Sonny escapes both Carmine and Joseph. Carmine speeds past Joseph, hot on the trail, while Sonny finds the tracer in his pants and destroys it. Joseph car jacks a juveniles car, pops a few wheelies, and then spots Sonny, who now moves into a waste-carrying truck. Joseph is too quick and gets on the truck, then gets to the front and starts choking out Sonny again. He shakes Joseph off - but Carmine is right there and starts blasting holes in the truck. That stops Sonny, who then gets dragged out of the truck and has the stuffing knocked out of him. Joseph finds both of them and threatens to kills them both, but Sonny shoots the waste in the truck and makes a big explosion. He then runs past a dazed Joseph and Carmine.

Joseph recollects his thoughts and sets the drawbridge up to that Joseph can't escape. They then have a fight on the bridge, and while that's happening, the police show up and override the drawbridge to go down. The sudden movement causes both Joseph and Sonny to fall on the burnt out truck. - and right into the path of Carmine, who has them pegged, until Sonny grabs her and jumps into the river with her. Joseph escapes via helicopter.

Joseph figures out that the river leads to the water sewage plant. Joseph and Carmine argue - and while doing that, Carmine reads the rules. The last rule says that Sonny has to be back at the Tower Casino before the 24 hours are up - or else the bet is forfeit. Joseph interrupts their tea party and the chase is on yet again.

This time, Joseph gets ambushed, and they take him at gunpoint to his private airplane, leaving his goons at the water treatment plant. Meanwhile, on t he plain, Sonny tells Chuck to meet him at the airport, saying that it's the last thing that he'll ever ask. Well, he may be right, as Joseph's goons find Chuck and surround him in the limo.

The limo is there to pick Carmine, Joseph and Sonny up, but Sonny sees that there are goons in the limo and we get another fire fight where no one gets hit. The limo does get Sonny and Carmine, but they now are down to 58 minutes. Sonny makes the introductions and fill Chuck in as to what is going on.

They get to the hotel with 12 minutes to spare - but the front is guarded. They decide to take the back route - but instead of going the way that got the guy killed in the beginning, they use a window washer set up. Four minutes left - and they get to the top of the casino. Joseph shows up in the helicopter, but they evade that and break a window to get into the building.

Joseph is right on their tails, and it looks like he catches them with 1:24 left, but he runs out of bullets and Sonny and Joseph move into the first room where the betting started. Joseph and Sonny get into one last fight, and this time, Sonny is on the losing end. Joseph holds Sonny at knife point when... time runs out. Sonny wins. Joseph throws him over the side and into... a movie theater? Apparently, this was all on closed-circuit TV and the 'patrons' sitting down are all gamblers, wagering on whether or not he'd survive the 24 hours.

Joseph gives Sonny and Carmine an offer to double their money. Sonny says "Never in a million years" and despite Joseph saying that they can't change who they are, Sonny punches him out and tells him that as a hunter, he is a lousy shot. They walk over Josephs dazed body on the way out. End of movie.

My take? I like Billy Zane, and like his role in Demon Knight, he plays a convincing charismatic sleazeball. I like Corinne, and although Jared, who's much more vulnerable, would have probably been the better choice for the lead role, Sean was pretty good. The lighting and editing, however, is awful, and you have to wonder if Mr. Silver could have spend more money on a better production company. IN addition to this, only one person dies (at the beginning of the movie) and you have to wonder if Joel wanted a kindler, gentler movie.

Ironically, the acting doesn't doom the film, the so-called 'backers' do. This is not rotten movie, but the surprisingly bad visuals and sloppy camera work drop this to a run of the mill feature, which gets a run of the mill C+ from me.

Though I won't bet my life that this is the last time we will see this series, it looks very likely. Although it is sad, they did themselves in, and I won't necessarily be mourning the demise if the pay off is going to be a movie that is budget-hampered. I'll be mourning the end of the recaps, though, and I hope you enjoyed reading them.

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