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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

KING'S GAMBIT -- DVD Review by Porfle

One of those intriguing premises that's sort of like a feature-length "Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" episode, KING'S GAMBIT (Indican Pictures, 2020) asks the question: what if certain people known as "Heralds" possessed magical journals, passed down from parent to child, in which they wrote, in strange, glowing symbols, entries which actually came to pass in order to help people in need and influence world events?

Bryce Wheeler (Blake Webb) becomes just such a person after the death of his father gives him a journal and its inherent power, which, as Peter Parker's Uncle Ben would agree, brings great responsibility.

The use of such a power requires the wisdom which Bryce's father has long tried to instill in him by training him to be a master at chess.

With the help of his best friends Ashley (Rebecca Galarza) and Tyler (Reggie Peters), who know his secret, Bryce must use great care in exercising his philanthropic powers since every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Thus, the most well-meaning magical deed might bring about an equal measure of chaos, destruction, and death unless Bryce plots each possible outcome as he would in a game of chess.

Debut writer-director Joseph Sayer has fashioned an instantly compelling premise here, one which is explored in interesting ways by characters we come to like and a capable cast bringing the intelligent script to life.

A major subplot involves one troubled man Bryce tries to help, the dangerously unstable Jon Jenkins (Wade Williams), causing a near-catastrophic disruption of the man's timeline that will prove a recurring problem that comes back to haunt our heroic trio in unpredictable ways.

There's also the matter of TV newswoman Pamela (Sheryl Carbonell), who somehow learns Bryce's secret which may or may not be a good thing. Adding to the mystery is a series of messages in the journal from yet another mysterious Herald who claims to be offering his experience to guide Bryce along a better path.

Things get really serious when Bryce and his friends hatch a highly perilous plan which involves using the journal to set right all the things he's inadvertently thrown out of balance.

Some jarring plot twists follow, as well as a few suspenseful sequences as when Bryce is captured and threatened with death if he doesn't turn over the journal and its secrets.

Director Sayer gets the most out of his modest budget, giving KING'S GAMBIT a visual quality to match the imagination in the story, which, incidentally, is so complicated at times that I sorta let the "gotcha!" twist in the last few seconds go right over my head. But that's okay--I'll get it next time I watch.

Buy it from Indican Pictures


Runtime: 88 minutes
Format: 1:78 HD
Sound: Dolby Sr.
Country: USA
Language: English
Captions: English
Extras: None


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