Nick Bateman's X-Men Short: Gambit Play For Keeps
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Two years ago Canadian martial arts actor Nick Bateman had released his Gambit Teaser trailer which featured a fight scene between Gambit and an unknown tattooed mutant. This mutant was revealed to be none other than Akihiro aka Daken. This teaser (see below) was actually the prologue to the main film.
After watching this teaser, X-Men fans especially Gambit fans rejoiced at Nick Bateman's portrayal of the Raging Cajun. So much so over the last two years, Bateman has now released the full fan film titled Gambit Play For Keeps.
From what we see we get an explosive start. Quite literally, Gambit has pulled off a heist (unsurprising for someone of the Thieves Guild) and is driving off with his winnings. Only for a portal to open in front of him. Here we see Illyana Rasputina aka Magik (Anna Butkevich) best known for being a long time X-men team member and little sister of Piotr Rasputin aka Colossus (the classic tank character of the X-Men). However this Magik is different to the version we are familiar with and she has Gambit forced to play a poker game against a former bitter Mr Lenero (Eric Roberts), a crime boss who lost to Gambit once and as been after vengeance since. Even was responsible for sending Daken (Krzysztof Soszynski) after him as we saw in the teaser. This time round Lenero has somehow convinced Magik to kidnap Remy Lebeau's beloved wife Anna Marie aka Rogue (Ellen Hollman). Forcing Gambit to literally play his hand.
All in all this film does a great job to represent Gambit's character than his previous live action portrayal in Origins. Whilst Rogue seems to not have her Paragon powers of flight and super strength from a certain Carol Danvers, this is likely based off the modern X-Men comics where Rogue no longer has these power permanently and in fact she has full control over her absorbing powers unlike the classic version. We can to see a great display of Gambit's agility and martial arts prowess.
The only thing really lacking is their choice of villains. Magik seems like an odd choice for most X-Men fans as she as dabbled with her dark side (she did live her teenage years in Limbo with nothing but Demons after all), but for her to work for a petty crime boss against her fellow X-Men is a bit of a huge diversion from her source material. Rita Wayword aka Spiral would have been a better option for a portal generating villainess. Same way the teaser doesn't do Daken fans any favours, lets be honest they could have chosen to replace the character with anyone from Spyke to one of many Wolverine's other illegitimate children that would more likely be easily beaten by Gambit and be more than happy to take up paid mercenary work against Gambit. But aside from odd choice in villains, we should applaud the chemistry from Gambit and Rogue at the end as many X-men fans have been waiting to see this couple in live action since the first X-Men trilogy only to be denied any possibility of that. Speaking of the X-Men trilogy, its been 20s years since the first film and the cast had recently had a brief reunion until someone gatecrashed it...