The Player: House Rules – Wesley Snipes Kicks A**


The Player - Season 1

The Player continues to raise the stakes in terms of action and subplot. Ginny is at last revealed to be alive and, apparently, well. Just who is holding Alex Kane’s wife is not revealed but considering Cassandra’ reaction to the CCTV footage it is clearly not her. Mr. Johnson is the safe bet, after all, the pit boss needs to provide a player that the gamblers like and Kane fits that bill perfectly.

This week in House Rules a young hacker; a’la Scorpion protagonist Walter O’Brien, is accused of uploading a Chinese virus onto the Pentagon’s computer system and a team of parkouring Triad assassins are sent to kill the boy. The NSA also want the teenager and Alex’s job is to get the hacker, Solomon (Nik Dodani) to safety. 

Episode 4, allows Wesley Snipes to prove that he still has the moves (Snipes has an extensive martial arts background) not once but twice. At the start of the episode and at the end Mr. Johnson kicks a**.  Meanwhile, Kane discovers some discrepancies in the dates on some pictures that he found on Ginny’s hidden sim card.

House Rules shows just how coldblooded Mr. Johnson is, the pit boss kills Zeng  (Will Yun Lee) with his bare hands for violating the rules of the game. In the scene, the two men fight and recount a story of a hawk who dies trying to save its master’s (the king’s) life. Before Zeng is killed he asks Johnson which one he is, the pit boss answers, “The sword'” as he suffocates the loser.

The Player - Season 1
Wesley Snipes and Will Yun Lee

*Sidenote* The appearance in “The Player” is Will Yun Lee’s second guest role on a television show in the same week. He also turns up in the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken” as Ken Park’s wife’s old medical school flame. 

Philip Winchester as Alex Kane proves he learned his action lessons very well on Strike Back (Sky 1,  2010 – ) where the actor was put through his paces by former SAS instructors. Will Yun Lee, Zeng in the show, also worked on the UK series as did another NBC series star, Blindspot‘s Sullivan Stapleton.  

It is Winchester, as usual, who does the lion’s share of the action in House Rules. The actor does stunts that look convincing and has some pretty powerful acting chops as well. Whether he is sliding across a pebbled roof while shooting a handgun or almost welling up at the thought of Ginny, Winchester sells it.

Alex Kane even manages to outshine the parkouring Triads who are after Solomon the teen hacker who attempted to remove the Chinese Pentagon virus. The shootouts in this episode are very impressive, with a NSA/Triad/Winchester gunfight in a Seattle subway.  This same scene has one heart-stopping stunt where “Alex” leaps in front of an express subway train into an opening on the far side.

The Player - Season 1
Philip Winchester as Alex Kane with Nik Dodani as Solomon.

Regardless of whether this stunt was “real” or CG, it was impressive and on par with other actions sequences on the series thus far.

Stunts and shootouts aside, by the end of the episode, Alex learns that Ginny is still alive, which he  pretty much realized when discovering that her corpse did not have the “ring” tattoo. Solomon Desai, the computer prodigy saved by Kane, does algorithms on the incorrect dates discovered by Alex at the start of the episode and finds a cell phone number.

With an area code of 702 it is a Las Vegas number and Alex calls it. He speaks with his wife but she cannot tell him anything that can help him to find her. At the end of the call, Ginny tells someone the viewer cannot see that she has done as asked and now wants to go home.

There is no answer.

Alex tries to ring again and the number is now out of service. Cassandra (Charity Wakefield) also learns that Ginny is still alive. The dealer has been attempting to access all the footage of the night that Alex’s wife was “killed,” and finally sees the body swap. Her reaction is, “Oh my God, Ginny.”

This episode had crooked NSA agents and Triad assassins as well as a computer whiz kid and great actions sequences. Away from all those guns and physical altercations, Cassandra makes a young hacker’s day when she tells him that she loves The Matrix, and one is left with the idea that Mr. Johnson is the person that Ginny is speaking to after her  phone call with Alex.

The Player - Season 1
Cassandra King makes a computer hacker’s day.

The Player is rapidly becoming a treat not to be missed. It airs Thursdays on NBC and is exciting television. Tune in and get swept away by the stunts as well as Snipes, Winchester and Wakefield.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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