Before we go any further I want you to lower your expectations for this movie. Gamer is a generic action movie trying to ride the video game wave. If you’re a gamer you won’t like that much and if you’re an action movie fan the whole gaming thing will be a bit tedious. However, if you’re willing to let everything go and watch Gamer as a simple futuristic actioner, you might have some fun. I mean, the movie looks great and you can see where those $50 million went. And there are some intriguing concepts here.
For example, I really liked the society part, it was clever and thought-provoking. Too bad they didn’t use it more in the movie. Another missed opportunity that shouldn’t be too surprising since the script feels like it’s written by someone who never played a video game in their life. Or possibly a filthy casual, although I’m slowly but surely turning into one. And it will happen to you, to quote Simpsons. Gerard Butler and Michael C. Hall gave good performances and it’s always fun to watch Terry Crews doing his thing.
Gamer is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the same guys who brought us insanely fun Crank. So, you can expect the same amount of action here as well. A lot of shootings, explosions, and people standing in one place waiting for their inevitable death. I think they went for the single-player console experience instead of focusing on the multiplayer BF or COD vibes. And just to be perfectly clear, Gamer is not based on any actual video games but the concept is completely made up.
We have seen it numerous times before, for example in one of my favorite eighties science fiction movies Running Man. Or more recently in Death Race although that movie is actually a remake of a much older one. All of these movies also feature a strong male lead, usually an action star of that time period. I guess this concept of using death row prisoners for dangerous missions can be traced back to the 1967 classic The Dirty Dozen.
Welcome to the world of tomorrow! It is the year of our lord Satan 2034 and people are still the same assholes they were a thousand years ago. This time they invented a special video game Slayers in which people playing it control real persons. They are, of course, death row prisoners who now must fight each other in huge arenas. However, there’s also a group of hackers, Humanz, fighting to end this cruel practice…
I think that Gamer is just the first in a long line of movies that are going to try to take advantage of the fast-growing video game market. I’m guessing that in the next ten years we’re going to get many similar and also much better movies. Until they arrive, you can have fun with this cheesy but entertaining movie. And I think they should have set the story a bit more in the future. 2034 is awfully close and it feels like we’re not going to get this kind of technology any time soon. But who knows, maybe you’ll be controlling me in 2030 and I don’t even know it yet.
Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Writers: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Cast: Gerard Butler, Amber Valletta, Michael C. Hall, Kyra Sedgwick, Logan Lerman
Fun Stuff: Simon’s music collection includes the cover of a death metal band Origin. They are pretty good, do check out their songs Staring from the Abyss and Inhuman.