Picking up the "Fast Eddie" saga where The Hustler left off, Newman is now playing the part that Scott played - aging pool shark backing new hustler in town. Other than the pool shots, the movie overall was pretty disappointing, very rare for Newman. It appears all they did was take a really good hustler movie, add color, add glamour boy Cruise and reenact the same old gig. You have the same high strung pool shark that knows he can beat the world, you have the older guy as a backer and you have the chick in the background that the older guy is trying to get rid of.
Newman isn't the hard core drunk he was in the original release, but he is still a mean dude behind the cue. His performance was probably the best in the movie - mainly because I think Cruise is basically a poor actor, so I am kind of prejudiced from the beginning. Mary E. Mastrantionio slinks into her role quite well, a little naughty and a little nice.
Newman more or less forgets the interplay of his lady fair and George Scott in the Hustler, as he pretty much pulls the same scam on Cruise and Mastrantionio. Trying to get her to leave Cruise to the game, while she gives him quick peeks of ta-ta's and shower scenes. Now whether she is trying to fleece him or not, I never did figure out or maybe she was trying to solidify the relationship between Cruise and Newman.
Cruise refuses to follow Newman's guidance as he tries to teach him the fine art of losing the game in order to win in the long run. Premise being, the more you loose, the more fish you hook until the bait is large enough to take the winnings. Eventually they split and Newman, formerly retired from the halls, returns to the game and the ultimate goal being the big play off in Atlantic City.
Along the way he hustles Forest Whittaker in a fine game of pool (by the way Whittaker ends up being the hustler here), in my opinion it was a replay in his mind of the deal with Gleason from Hustler. Eventually, realizing he loves the game for the game itself and not the hustle, Newman strikes out to prove himself once again.
Once in Atlantic City, the play offs come down to Newman and Cruise playing against each other, sort of like Merlin and his protégé.. Cruise wins but shows up later to tell Newman that he dumped the game for Newman's sake and to win back the money Newman had lent him originally. In effect, this works against Newman's value system and he leaves the tournament.
Although I loved the Hustler, I was greatly disappointed in this sequel. The original, of course in black and white so therefore more gritty, was enough story for me. Bringing Eddie back and making him look like a loser in order to bolster Cruise's ego really took away from the character. In the original release, Hustler, Eddie was all grit and attitude. Now he is just a pool shark that has sold out for money.
I tired of Cruise's little boy' infantile attitude in the movie and was amazed that he allowed, at this stage in his career, to let the female have the dominate part in the movie. He just reminds me of a little boy that stomps his feet when things don't go his way in this production. Perhaps, as he should be, he was intimidated by Newman's presence and stature. Whatever, although others thought he was great in his film, I didn't care for him at all.
And even though I have bashed the Hell outta this flick, I have to tell you I enjoyed it also. I liked the scenes with Newman just flashing those balls around that table like they had wings on them. I liked the idea of the hustle and all it implies. I grudgingly liked Newman and Cruise together - kind of like oil and water - the was Cruise sort of works Newman's last nerve. I thought the directing and the cinematography were very good and the scenes flowed easily. I've watched it before and durn if I won't probably watch it again, a rare occurrence for me.
And thank God Newman finally won that Oscar he deserved!
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Martin Scorsese's THE COLOR OF MONEY picks up where Robert Rossen's 1961 film THE HUSTLER left off. Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), now middle-aged, finds the image of his youthful self in a pool hustler named Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise). Trying to relive his past days of glory through the cocky but inexperienced youngster, Fast Eddie takes on the role of Vincent's manager and mentor. But Fast Eddie didn't count on having to contend with Vincent's smart, sexy, and extremely ambitious girlfriend. The three characters become engaged in an emotionally complicated power struggle as they make their way to Atlantic City, where Vincent plans to compete in his first pool tournament. <br> <br> Scorsese's, as well as Newman's, love for the character of Fast Eddie shines through in every frame of this sequel, something that didn't go unnoticed by the academy (earning Newman the Best Actor Oscar). Playing the young upstart, Cruise steps up to Newman's challenge, delivering an energetic performance that cemented hi...