...and the trouble she discovers.
Gamer is a 2009 science fiction thriller starring Gerard Butler as Kable who is just a convict looking for a way back home. I know, it sounds very Running Man (the written word, not the film) doesn’t it? Kable is given the opportunity to find freedom by becoming a playable character in a real life first person shooter titled Slayer. After 30 battles are successfully completed the living avatar is given the ability to go home as a free man. The problem here is that no one has actually achieved that winning status yet.
Michael C. Hall, who I was completely unaware was even in the movie, plays Castle the evil master mind behind the game as well as a second project named Society. Society is a large scale Second Life or The Sims giving those with enough money complete control of a beautifully living specimen and have them bend to their very will. Unsurprisingly Society contains a lot of sexually explicit game play by morbidly obese syrup drinkers. No; I’m not kidding. That’s an actual scene of the movie - just one large dude controlling a super hot female while swallowing fists full of syrup.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges also makes an appearance in the movie as the underground resistance leader who aids Kable in his escape from the gaming world. From that point on Kable takes everything he has learned from Slayer and applies it to the futuristic world that has left him behind. Nothing will stop this silent, brooding, hunk from finding his wife (who is now an actress for Society) and his missing daughter.
The film borrows heavily from movies past and is an obvious rebirth of the classic short story The Most Dangerous Game. What I thoroughly enjoyed about this flick was the quick pace and high-end explosions. I have no trouble admitting that I can enjoy Michael Bay-esque fire and boom. While it’s obvious that our protagonist is much different than the rest of the convicts, who seem to be exploding like sun ripened tomatoes, the movie does a fair job at keeping the story moving. If you’re a fan of any first person shooter franchise or action films in general you should enjoy this movie.
What I disliked about this particular film was the commentary on socially accepted violence and sexually explicit material while simultaneously exploiting said graphic imagery. I find it hard to swallow when your possible rape scene is being lighted in trendy rave advertisement while saying “This is why you’re bad but look how nice we’ve made it. It’s for your viewing pleasure!” Also, this is just a small thing, but Michael C. Hall is set up to have an unidentified southern accent (possibly Texan) however randomly loses it throughout the movie. It’s a bit jarring to be engrossed by his performance, because I think he’s just keen, and then be slapped with an “Oh-Kay Ya’ll!?”
Nearly all of the key plot points here are predictable but if you don’t mind a little brainless entertainment it’s really not a bad watch. With pretty explosions, a 95 minute run time, and John Leguizamo thrown in for good measure I certainly had fun. You can check it out on Netflix Streaming if you’d like.
2.5 out of 5 stars