Rated R for frenetic sequences of strong brutal violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and language.
Directed and Written By: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Staring: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Amber Valletta, Kyra Sedgwick, Logan Lerman, Allison Loman, Terry Crews, Zoe Ball, Milo Ventimiglia, Keith Jardine, John Leguizamo, and Ludacris
I hope one day to have the opportunity to breach your firewall, Miss Parker Smith. -Ken Castle
Gamer starts off pretty well. There is all sorts of interesting technology around to distract you and keep you interested. Clearly it’s a real hard “R” with pretty intense, yet video game style violence. There is an obvious feel for where it’s going and even though it’s concept and vengeance theme follows Death Race and Gladiator a little too closely for my taste, it still wins you over initially by lots of fun violence, but unfortunately this movie does last longer than forty minutes.
It’s the future and technology, power, and money are aligned as one, so not much has changed except for technologies now very prevalent place in society. Online games have manifested from pretend people to actual people in games like “Society” or “Slayer” where death row inmates fight for their freedom. None have survived but a man named “Kable” is on his 27th survival. Three more and he’ll earn his freedom, except it seems the game has been modified to kill him. He must survive and find what has happened to his wife and child.
Michael C. Hall is incredible. I’ve been a huge fan of him on Dexter but in Gamer he equally matches the charisma of Butler, by playing the villain that you love to hate. His cocky and smooth bravado gives the final showdown a worthy and entertaining climax that is surprisingly absent of an overwhelming action sequence. Butler himself was great as usual, but even I am starting to wear thin on his thick accent coming through. His casting made sense for this role. There isn’t a ton of dialogue or back story to make his character interesting, so his inert charm and likability is what makes him the actual hero. With a supporting role by the notorious rapper Ludacris who brings another element of fun to the movie, the cast is what really shined this movie right up.
A problem with the visual world created for us is that there really isn’t a huge difference between reality and the gamer world. The two mesh together as one and while technology has thinned those lines in the future there wasn’t enough of a contrast for me to really appreciate “Slayer” or “Society” from the real world. Society being an updated version of what today’s “Sims” are was pretty damn cool, and a rationally acceptable progression for society. In the world of “Slayer” Gamer makes no apologies for it’s violence and it is unquestionably a reasonable reflection of the chaos inside a current first person shooter game. Comments to the gamers about sounding like a twelve year old with the indignant reply, “No! I’m seventeen.”, as though the contrast is so ridiculous to a grown man, is something that happens in the online gaming world on a VERY normal basis.
Gamer does itself a disservice by taking itself way too seriously and tried too hard to be hip. This would have worked as a simplistic revenge seeking action movie with some proper science fiction. The visuals were clearly cliff-noted from Speed Racer. There is no real character exploration to speak of, and so what should take the place of the simplistic plot shouldn’t be dramatic character evolutions or experiences, but more action and visual fun. Then us viewers don’t care so much about the paper dolls running around shooting each other. After the first half it loses it’s momentum and concludes with an annoying and pointless ending. The issue with the nanittes was ridiculous.
Gamer qualifies as awesomely bad. It’s really a true mess of a film that couldn’t find it’s footing as an acceptable mindless film. It should have focused more on the fun unapologetic violence and action. As an avid first person shooter gamer myself I was very intrigued by this film, especially since it starred Gerard Butler. The first forty minutes or so delivered and after all that it simply drizzled out and then became insipidly annoying by overstating it’s own dramatic quality. Gamer is fun for it’s simplicity, but falls short by being too over-dramatic for the kind of movie it was.
Rate This Review And The Tell Us If We Got It Right.