Shade (2003)

Shade (2003)Shade is a film noir crime movie released in 2003 by Dimension Films. Shade features an ensemble cast including Sylvester Stallone, Melanie Griffith, Jamie Fox, Stuart Townshend, and Gabriel Byrne. The film follows the story of three conmen who try to set up "The Dead," a notorious card player. Shade involves multiple interwoven plots and flashbacks.

Shade was promoted with several brief taglines: "Look Deeper," "When gambling your life, leave nothing to chance," "Getting played… it’s all in the game," and "Lie, cheat, steal, your deal!".

Cast and Crew of Shade

Shade was directed by Damian Nieman and produced by Chris Hammond, Ted Hartley, and David Schnepp. The original screenplay was written by director Damian Nieman. James Johnzen composed the score for the film. Tony Richman provided cinematography, while Jeff Gullo, Scott Conrad, and Glenn Garland edited the film.

Shade features an all-star cast, including Sylvester Stallone as Stevens, Melanie Griffith as Eve, Gabriel Byrne as Charlie Miller, Thandie Newton as Tiffany, Stuart Townshend as Vernon, Bo Hopkins as Scarne, Jamie Foxx as Larry Jennings, and Dina Merrill as Dina.

The supporting cast for Shade includes Patrick Bauchau, Frank Medrano, Hal Holbrook, Louis Freese, Roger Guenveur Smith, Charles Rocket, Michael Dorn, Mark Boone Jr., Jack Conley, and Tony Burton.

Plot Synopsis for Shade

Shade begins many years in the past, when Dean is participating in an underground poker game with the mob. Robbers raid the game and tell everyone to lift their hands. Dean does so reluctantly, and reveals the card that he has been concealing. One of the other players sees the card, becomes enraged, and begins shooting. The ensuing gunfight kills everyone except Dean and one other mobster, who aim their guns at each other.

Shade then flashes forward to present day, where Charlie and Tiffany are running a diamond ring scam. The scam only earns them $300, an indication of their low-level crime operation. In and LA club, Tiffany and Charlie meet with Larry Jennings after he’s defeated in an illegal poker game. They create a soft game scheme that could make them up to ten or twenty thousand dollars. Larry says that he’s in, but he has to talk to another member of the group first. A flashback shows the third group member, Vernon, a cheating gambler, who is working as a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas. Vernon and his crew scam the casino for $40,000.

Charlie and Vernon wait for Larry at a different bar when Scarne, a corrupt police officer, hassles them and takes the contents of Vernon’s wallet. Fortunately for Vernon, his bankroll was hidden in his boot. Scarne leaves, Larry arrives, and Vernon shows Charlie and Larry his expert card handling skills. The three agree to team up.

A flashback shows Tiffany picking up a man who had approached her at the bar earlier and taking him to a deserted warehouse. The man is bound to a chair, and a surgical team enters the warehouse to remove his kidney for sale on the black market.

Larry and Charlie enter a house to play a poker game, and Vernon is waiting for them. The action is slow, causing Larry to become impatient. Larry is dealing, and there’s over $100,000 in the pot while he’s holding four 10s. His opponent beats him with four Jacks. The money that Larry wagered belonged to a Malini, a ruthless mobster. Malini sends two henchmen to retrieve Larry and kill him.

Shade then flashes back to the scene with Dean and the mobster. The two agree to the cut cards to decide who gets the money. The mobster draws a King while Dean draws an Ace of spades. The mobster tries to shoot Dean but Dean shoots first, killing the mobster and splattering blood on his Ace. As Charlie recounts the story, he suspects that it’s an urban legend.

Back in the present, Dean and his former associate Eve are dining at Eve’s restaurant. Dean is considering retirement. Meanwhile, Tiffany, Vernon, and Charlie are discussing how to take down Dean in a poker game with $2,000,000 at stake. Vernon departs, and the film reveals that Vernon and Tiffany were lovers, but that she is now involved with Charlie.

The following day, Malini’s henchmen track Charlie down at a restaurant and demand Marini’s money. Charlies says that he’ll pay the cash, but one of the henchmen pulls a gun and starts shooting. The bartender is shot and killed, but Tiffany shows up and kills Nate, one of the henchmen. The other thug, Marlo, escapes. Charlie, Tiffany, and Vernon leave the restaurant. Scarne arrives on the scene, and witnesses tell him that two men and a woman recently left. Scarne knows who is involved.

Tiffany, Charlie, and Vernon arrive that evening at the Hollywood Roosevelt for the $2,000,000 game. They’re shocked to find that Malini is the host. The three meet their opponents, including Dean. Dean and Vernon knock everyone out of the tournament gradually until they’re left to play five card stud heads up. The two are having difficulty beating each other, and they decide to take a break. Tiffany suspects that Dean is using a marked deck of cards, and decides to introduce a new deck to the game after the break.

The End of Shade

In the final hand, Vernon deals the hand. Dean receives Kings and Queens, two pair, with a King in the hole. Vernon receives a pair of Jacks and a 7 in the hole. Dean decides to go all in, and Vernon is shorthanded by $50,000, which Tiffany and Charlie stake him for. Suddenly, Marlo enters the room and identifies Tiffany, Charlie, and Vernon. Malini’s henchmen pull their guns just as Scarne enters the room with his gun out as well. Dean insists that the hand continue. Vernon discards his 7 and draws a third Jack to take the lead. However, Dean draws an additional Queen and wins the $2,000,000. Malini orders Vernon, Charlie, and Tiffany to get out. The three part ways.

At the end of Shade, Vernon is eating by himself at a diner. Scarne, Dean, and Eve enter the restaurant. It turns out the entire game was a set up among the four of them to scam Charlie and Tiffany. The four split the $2,000,000, and Dean tosses Vernon is blood-spattered Ace before leaving with Eve.