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Review: Gamer

7 10

PLOT: In the distant future, video games have advanced to the point where players begin controlling actual people. The newest game to feature this technology is called “Slayers”, where players control death row inmates, who are forced to battle each other to the death- with the promise that once they’ve survived thirty sessions, they’ll be given pardons. The game’s reigning champion is an ex-soldier turned inmate- named Kable (Gerard Butler), who’s just completed his twenty seventh session. The game’s creator, a megalomaniacal IT genius named Castle (Michael C. Hall), has no intention of allowing Kable to survive his last few sessions, and Kable must somehow convince his user, a seventeen year old brat named Simon (Logan Lerman) to give him control his own actions- thus allowing him to go free and return to his family.

REVIEW: Basically GAMER is a rehash of the eighties Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, THE RUNNING MAN only instead of satirizing reality TV, this reflects the growing obsession with online multi-player games. When it comes to video games, I must confess that I’m something of a luddite. I don’t own any video game consoles and the last game I spent any time playing was probably GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY, which I used to enjoy back in the day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy video games, but they’ve just never really been something that was a big part of my life.

That said, I can see the appeal of multi-player online games like THE SIMS, as they can be a great escape from the pressures of the real world and while GAMER is certainly a huge exaggeration, I wonder if perhaps one day things will advance to the stage where gamers are controlling actual people? Hopefully not but then again, THE RUNNING MAN ended up being a pretty prescient view of reality TV, so hopefully in a few years, we won’t be saying the same thing about GAMER.

Overall, I had fun with GAMER. Gerard Butler is a kick ass action hero (dude is JACKED!!!), and this gives him plenty of time to demonstrate his ass-kicking abilities. He even gets to take on Terry Crews at one point although the fight scene is over way to fast for my liking. The action scenes are fairly decent although this definitely suffers from the 800 cuts a minute/ shaky cam syndrome that’s taken over every action film that’s come out in the last few years although considering the subject matter, this technique is somewhat appropriate. Still, I miss the days when you could actually decipher what’s happening in an action scene (another reason I loved INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS).

As the main baddy, Michael C. Hall is effective; if wildly over the top (he gets the aforementioned big musical number). DEXTER is probably my favorite TV show, so it was cool seeing him in this, although it made me even more anxious for the new season to start (one more week!).

Grade: 7/10




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