Gamer, directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, is a science-fiction action thriller starring Gerard Butler. The film is set in the near future where Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) has designed a technology that allows a third party to control someone for the sake of video-gaming. Nanotechnology is implanted in each death row inmate’s head and they are forced to play a deadly real life shoot em’ up video game called “Slayer”. Each inmate is assigned to a gamer who can literally control his every move. Kable (Butler), controlled by a 17-yr old gamer (Logan Lerman), is the game’s most recognizable face as he is closing in on surviving the 30 matches required to set him free, a feat no one has accomplished so far.
Neveldine and Taylor’s trademark hyper-editing is definitely apparent in the movie, which may be very annoying to some (most?) viewers. Although the film markets itself as an action movie, the action sequence are unoriginal, repetitive and unspectacular and pretty much amount to Butler running around, firing a weapon. Mix in some shockingly obvious social commentary, gratuitous shots of breasts and backsides, a boring and suspense-less plot line and you have a sloppy film that tries to be more than it should be. Let’s face it, people coming to watch a movie of this kind only want to see over-the-top action for the entire length of the film much like in Crank, Death Race and the likes and Gamer cannot even deliver that.
As always, it never feels right when a movie is not pre-screened for the press before its release and you can see why. Gamer attempts to be thought-provoking but it becomes almost laughable, sort of like being preached by a 6-yr old kid who still wets his pants. The characters are uni-dimensional if not completely non-existent. Gerard Butler doesn’t do much but look dejected and his character is given almost no background information whatsoever. This is the main character of the movie I’m talking about here. The rest of the characters are even more sketchy and unlikable with forgettable supporting appearances by … everyone not named Gerard Butler.
I’m feeling generous today but obviously, it’s a below average, barely half-decent movie . There is some clever premises that could have made for an interesting movie but it ends up being a gratuitous, unspectacular and overly edited mess that tries really hard to excite its male teen demography and fails miserably.
Notes: Rated R for frenetic sequences of strong brutal violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and language. 95 minutes.