Action, explosions, leading roles played by Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter), and a story that appeals to the video game community are just a few of the things that Gamer promises in it’s terribly exciting trailer. Considering all of us here at Lost In Reviews are casual to avid gamers, we thought it would be interesting to see what the differences would be between two reviewer/gamers’ opinions. But not just gamer vs. gamer — guy vs. girl, and brother vs. sister as well!
Gamer is a high-concept 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. Mind-control technology is widespread, and at the heart of the controversial games is its creator, reclusive billionaire Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall).
His latest brainchild, the first-person shooter game “Slayers,” 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(Gerard Butler) is the superstar and cult hero of the ultra-violent “Slayers.” Kable is controlled by Simon, a young gamer with rock star status who continues to defy all odds by guiding Kable to victory each week.
I’ve been gaming since I was old enough to pick up a controller, and games with violence always seemed to be the most entertaining (DOOM blew my five-year old mind), so once I saw the trailer for Gamer, I was immediately interested in playing the most realistic shooter ever. The plot was simple enough; brain control, death-row convicts, horny teenagers and enough firepower to make Rambo look like American Idol.
Now, I love action movies as much as the next guy, but this whole “deadly game show” concept is getting a little tired. I mean, with movies like The Running Man, The Condemned, and Death Race, Gamer needed to bring a lot to the table so that it wouldn’t end up in a 4 for $20 deal at Blockbuster. Sadly, the prowess of “300” didn’t carry over into the twenty-first century. Although it added a few things like “glitchy” camera work, neon blood and an over-the-top Terry Crews seemingly having an asthma attack anytime he was angry, the entire time i was watching, it felt like I’d seen it all before. Six times. Seriously, Don’t expect a lot of M. Night Shyamalan twists in this brutal action flick.
Now, it wasn’t all bad…there were a lot of genuinely funny moments and bits of dark humor that weren’t advertised at all, not to mention that a couple of the action scenes rivaled some of your bigger budget war movies. The cameos from other actors like Milo Ventimiglia and John Leguizamo were short lived, but nice to see. Milo’s character, Rick Rape, was quite different from his T.V. career as a super hero. Also, Michael C. Hall had a “dance fight” scene that had me laughing out loud in the theatre. Little quirky moments like that helped keep the movie fresh while grinding out generic plot lines and predictable events.
I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy my time spent in “Gamer”, but I can’t say that I enjoyed dropping $7.50 to see it, either. It has enough CGI blood and naked chicks to hook your average 15 year old, but I was expecting a bit more from this one.
– Blake Edwards
By 1991 I had become the older sister of two younger brothers. Needless to say, this got me into gaming at an early age and it stuck. My one true love is a FPS (first-person shooter) with a solid storyline, and the gamer in me hoped that Gamer could turn out to be the ultimate movie about the ultimate FPS. Also being an intelligent female and a frequent movie goer, I knew to expect lots of gratuitous explosions, racy moments, and shake-the-camera-to-make-the-violence-look-more-realistic scenes. Writers/Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor definitely (and unfortunately) didn’t disappoint in those areas.
All 95 minutes of Gamer was littered with standard cookie-cutter elements, like scantily clad men and women that participate in Ken Castle’s other mind-control game, Society, which is like The Sims on crack with living avatars. Of course, Kable’s wife on the outside has had to stoop to the level of working in Society (and she’s the hottest one in there), and their daughter was taken by child services and placed with none other then Castle himself. Of course. The foreshadowing was practically holding me down and slapping me in the face, all the while trying to disguise itself behind all the naked breasts.
There were a few enjoyable parts that actually got a laugh out of me, but also confused me. First was the choice to make Terry Crews the scariest bad-ass in Slayers. I kept waiting for him to burst into song or dance (White Chicks, Click). His anger was so over the top it was campy. Whether the camp was intentional or not, it was hilarious; Milo Ventimiglia’s cameo as Rick Rape, Kable getting drunk and using piss and vomit to start an ethanol-run truck, and Michael C. Hall’s ridiculous southern accent. Hilarious! The movie kept switching between being a fun campy flick and a mediocre action film that takes itself too seriously. Funniest part of the movie hands down was Michael C. Hall’s “puppet dance” where he used mind control to force a group of minions to join him in a jazzy little number set to the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. Butler did the best he could, considering the direction and dialog, but Hall stole the show by far.
There were nods to gamers, like verbiage that non-gamers may not be privy to. In one battle, a player makes his avatar “teabag” his recently deceased enemy, and the main problem with Slayers and Society is the ping levels. There was also a Slayer scene that was like the teasers for the first Gears of War game. But these winks and nods just weren’t enough to satisfy the gamer in me that got my butt in the seat in the first place. It was like Johnny Mnemonic and The Condemned had a baby, and The Running Man and Duke Nukem had a baby, and those babies got together to have Gamer.
WE GIVE THIS MOVIE:
HE SAYS: SHE SAYS:
3 “pistachio butters” out of 5 2.5 “angry Terry’s” out of 5