Gamer, reviewed by Koutchboom
Surprisingly Gamer is a lot of fun
Ok, can everyone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop using the phrase “It looks like a video game” when referring to a movie. Because save for one terrible movie its never been true, and now it would be considered a compliment for a movie to be as involving and interesting as a video game. With that said….Gamer LOOKS LIKE A VIDEO GAME!!!
Not in the sense that everyone else lazily uses it, but in the sense that it’s suppose to look like a video game, two video games to be correct. The first one is a rip off of The Sims with humans and the other one is every first person shooter with humans. Both games have their own unique feel and vibe to them. While the hyperkinetic visual style of co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank 1-2) is going to put off 90% of everybody I feel like it was actually used to good effect in this film. Unlike the Cranks where it just feels like they are mashing random visual flair up just for fun.
I’m half surprised half not surprised that I liked this film. See I am a fan of the Neveldine/Taylor look and feel, but everyone called this a hack job and it seemed like they could have been nutered by a studio due to its bigger budget compared to the Cranks. This was a rip roaring totally awesome energy drink of a movie. Its not going to win awards or even make old people like this ADD style of film making but for what it sets out to do it does well and with a lot more fun then other action movies.
This may as well been called Running Man 2: The Gamer Generation, because it’s essentially the same idea with a much bigger scope. Some computer genius Ken Castle, played with great relish by Dexter (Michael C. Hall), found a way to implement mind control tech into peoples brains. So now you can sign up and control people and do very deviant things (Society) or kill prisoners who fight for their freedom (Slayers). The movie focuses more on the Slayers aspect of this future gaming world. Kable played by Gerard Butler is about to win his 30th battle in Slayer, so he will be let free, he was a death row inmate. He is being played by some high school kid, who does not realize that of course there is a big conspiracy behind The Butcher Of Bakersfield…I mean Kable. So with the help of underground techy Humanz Brother played by the whatever Chris Bridges he realizes that something is going on and allows Kable to control his own destiny and he escapes Slayer world right before he is set to win his 30th battle.
After that the movie goes to where you think it would go, his wife works for Society because she can’t make ends meat. He comes and rescues her along with the help of Kyra Sedgwick and Alison Lohman then goes on to battle and take control of his life from Ken Castle. The plot is pretty standard stuff, not a strong point but this is a dumb fun movie.
What I was most worried about is that the movie was going to be taken down a couple of notches compared to the Crank movies since they had a real budget to work with and this was being poised as some big action movie. Turns out the movie flopped and maybe had I seen it in theaters I would not have liked it as much. But as for a solid rental movie goes, this is tops. It’s a fun thrill ride with exciting action and interesting editing style. This sort of style is beyond shaky cam but I like it and felt that it worked here. The extended cameo from Terry Crews though was wasted as was the Keith David cameo, but everyone else in the movie I thought was used to great effect. I liked Michael C. Hall’s take on the maniacal all knowing villain though the final fight between him and Butler was a lot of hype for a bit of a let down. Butler does a believable job as being a possibly former military member who can run around and kill people which was all the role asked for.
It pretty much comes down to the trailer, if you liked the trailer then you will like the movie. The trailer does not lie to you, its as stupid as it looks and even now trying to go over it and review it (which means I have to think about it) is making me not enjoy it as much. I realize now that it just made all gamers slobs and losers who just want to watch sex and kill people. Though….at the same time that is probably true. Some of the heavier aspects of the movie are never realized. Amber Valletta is pretty much wasted as the lost women in Kable’s life. Kable is very one note. Blah blah blah see what I mean. I enjoyed it on a pure visceral level, which was the intention of the movie. This is pure mindless entertainment at its best.
This movie was also one of the first to use the RED camera, so maybe its just a big expensive footage reel for all the stuff it can do.
On a final note, are Gerard Butler and Jason Statham the new Arnold and Sly?