Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Cast: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Alison Lohman, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Amber Valletta, John Leguizamo, Terry Crews, Aaron Yoo, Zoë Bell, Jonathan Chase, John De Lancie, Noel G., Kyra Sedgwick
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & Musictronic Entertainment
Official Website: http://gamerthemovie.com
Opening Day: 10 September 2009
GAMER is an action thriller set in a near future when gaming and entertainment have evolved into a terrifying new hybrid. Humans control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online games: people play people...for keeps. "Slayers," a first-person shooter game allows millions to act out their most savage fantasies online in front of a global audience, using real prisoners as avatars with whom they fight to the death. Kable (300's Gerard Butler) is the superstar and cult hero of "Slayers." Kable is controlled by Simon who continues to defy all odds by guiding Kable to victory each week. Taken from his family, imprisoned and forced to fight against his will, the modern day gladiator must survive long enough to escape the game to free his family, regain his identity and to save mankind from Castle's ruthless technology.
In our ever changing society, video games and their respective consoles have been upgrading themselves rapidly. Long gone are the days of the Sega 16-Bit consoles with bulky game cartridges and the Nintendo Gameboy and this has been fast replaced by the likes of the Wii, the third incarnation of the Playstation and even the PSP. On the computer, first shooter games like Doom have also evolved and the likes of Counterstrike and Left 4 Dead allows players to play with other players on other computers around the world. So, where does the movie Gamer fit in into all this? Gamer takes us many steps ahead when the game player can control a game character, who happens to be a living, breathing human being.
Intriguing premise? Certainly. Great movie? Certainly not. In the world of Gamer, a man by the name of Ken Castle has developed a technology that allows people to pay to control other people’s lives in a fantasy world and people can also be paid to become these characters and allow themselves to be controlled in the context of a game. As a result, his highly successful model, Society (something like The Sims) is a bonafide hit and Castle becomes even richer than Bill Gates. He soon comes up with a new game, Slayers and this one becomes an even bigger sensation. Allowing men on death row and rejects of society to sign up, Castle extracts these men from the prison system (with the Governement’s cooperation he says) and Slayers becomes everyone’s worse nightmare come true. It is a first-person shooter game where as mentioned earlier; the gamer controls the character, a real human being who has to fight to survive while being watched by people around the world.
The movie, made by the same contorted minds behind both Crank movies is unfortunately, not at their best here. The style is there (causing one too many headaches too) but the wit is lacking and the story, which has so much potential is blah. There’s a scene involving Vodka, human waste and the gas tank of a truck that is typical Nevedine/Taylor but they go as far as that. The bulk of the movie revolves around Kable (Gerard Butler), a character who is nearing his release from the game (this will happen if a character wins 30 battles) and his chance at redemption. Throw in a light dose of how he was not meant to be there in the first place and that’s Gamer for you. A lot of touch and go and a not a whole lot of meaning.
Gerard Butler is at the forefront of this movie and after 300, it’s no surprise that he is able to handle a movie of this kind with its action and what not but at the same time, it is also nothing too impressive. Also, he is surrounded by a good cast of people in the likes of Alison Lohman, John Leguizamo, Ludacris to name a few but they are all a jolly good waste of talent. It is a wonder why they would have signed up for such an outing when they have fared much much better.
Truth is, it is pretty easy to leave the cinema feeling somewhat shortchanged by the whole experience. I mean, yes, it is probably a movie that is meant for leaving your brains at the door but there is a lot of material inside that could have been explored but the filmmakers chose not to and that is probably the thing that irks me the most.
So, if you are looking for a generous amount of blood, explosions, random tits in a movie that is great for a bunch of army buddies on a nights off or a guy outing thing, this might be a good choice. Otherwise, just stick to LAN gaming.
(A movie with a lot of potential but with a significant lack of substance)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri