Ratchet And Clank

Director: Kevin Munroe (2016)

From Super Mario Bros. (1993) to Street Fighter (1995), Hollywood has a low scoring rate when trying to turn video games into cinema hits.

Never threatening the high score of soon to be remade Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) or Resident Evil (2002), Ratchet And Clank features a defective robot and an alien mechanic teaming up to save the universe.

Based on the game of the same name, this is a poorly assembled and malfunctioning sci-fi animated adventure.

More a sugar fuelled distraction than a coherent movie, it’s written for and possibly by attention deficit kids wide eyed on popcorn and fizzy drinks.

David Kaye voices Crank, a defective War-bot. Unlike his monstrously armoured production line robot siblings, he’s petite, prissy and pacifist.

Clank is scheduled for demolition by Paul Giamatti’s Chairman Drek. He’s employed Armin Shimerman’s evil scientist Doctor Nefarious to build an army of robot assassins to annihilate the Galactic Rangers.

The Rangers are a dim and trigger happy team of celebrity loving law enforcers, lead by the square jawed and muscle bound buffoon Captain Qwark, voiced by Jim Ward.

Crash landing on a distant world, Clank is rescued by Ratchet. Energetically voiced by James Arnold Taylor, he’s some sort of orange space fox.

A small mechanic with big dreams, Ratchet whisks his new friend away to warn the Rangers.

With the least possible attention to detail in the animation, character, plot or dialogue, it’s a manic, mirthless mash up of movie spare parts, many borrowed from the Star Wars films.

But sadly not just the good ones. There’s a planet destroying weapon and pod racing. Architecture is republican era Alderaan.

The script throws in jokes about selfies and hashtags in a futile bid to be relevant. At one point a robot henchmen chews up a smartphone as punishment.

For the intended audience it’s probably the most terrifying moment in the whole film.

The release date is presumably to capitalise on the UK Bank holiday, pitching itself at all the kids too young to see Captain America: Civil War (2016) or have already seen The Jungle Book (2016) and Zootropolis (2016).

Sylvester Stallone, Rosario Dawson and John Goodman offer recognisable names to tempt unwary parents with a mirage of quality.

It’s game over already for this wannabee franchise.

The Gambler

Director: Rupert Wyatt (2015)

Call the bluff on this glossy gambling movie that will leave you out of pocket and feeling cheated for watching.

Based on the superior 1974 film of the same name, the always watchable Mark Wahlberg plays to the manor born Jim Bennett, a masochistic, nihilistic and wildly unsympathetic university professor.

It’s a brave piece of casting which treats us to the novelty of former Funky Bunch frontman Wahlberg lecturing to University students on the merits of Shakespeare.

He’s a spoilt, whiny, attention-seeking brat with self-destructive tendencies who self-medicates his existential crisis by playing cards, and is not above developing a relationship Brie Larson’s genius young student.

Jim spends his nights gambling in illicit dens and his days teaching, leaving him too busy to put on a tie or brush his hair.

When not betting money he doesn’t have or antagonising gangsters for the empty thrill of it, Jim’s isolating himself from family and colleagues and generally feeling sorry for himself.

After a great deal of behaviour I wouldn’t allow from my four year old, Jim owes a quarter of a million dollars to various bad people and has seven days to pay it back. Or else.

Reduced to trying to hock his watch to stake another game, violence is repeatedly threatened for non-payment, and Jim wants to be hurt so badly its hard to feel sorry for him when he’s badly is.

Jessica Lange plays his tennis playing mother, and the elegant actress is particularly hard done by, but Jim probably thinks that’s her fault for enabling his addiction.

And in four brief appearances, the shaven-headed John Goodman raises the acting ante as a philosophising and kindly intentioned loan shark.

★★☆☆☆