Gerard Butler should watch his steps. It’s admirable that he’s trying on different genres like action movies, romantic comedies (The Ugly Truth), animation (Tales of the Black Freighter) and such, but with Gamer he enters the world of Jason Statham movies. Gamer feels nothing more than a Crank movie. Cheap looking, full of so-called avid-farts, over-stylized saturation and a plot that fits on a napkin. Nothing to be ashamed of when you make your living out of starring in these kinds of movies but for an A-list actor like Butler this seems like a miss-gamble.
Gamer is this centuries Running Man. In this case death sentenced convicts get a chance in some sort of reality version of Doom or any other fist-person shooter. The minds of convicts get controlled by gamers who then go out and shoot other convicts. The undefeated champion is Kable (Butler) and his operator. He’s about to win so many times in a row he’s going to be set free with a clean slate. But of course not everybody want Kable back into the real world and so getting free is going to be harder than just winning 23 times in a row. Oh and there is a kind of underground resistance that wants to shut down this behavior of controlling peoples minds, but that’s not much of a surprise now is it?
Other surprises that aren’t actually surprises: Kable is wrongly convicted and the guy behind the mind control technology is actually evil en bent on world domination. Gamer is a B-movie marketed as an A-one. This one should’ve gone straight to the DVD market. And that’s no shame of course, lots of movies that are straight to DVD can be fun. But my anticipation of this movie was higher than I expected which makes it rather disappointing.
But it’s not a complete disaster though. Not considering the boring action-scenes the movie does look cool despite being over-saturated. The difference between the real world (gritty) and the plastic world full of real-life sims (colorful) is nicely done. I liked how every “sim” had a nickname and I suggest you pause the Blu-Ray just to glance at all the names. A couple of them: Rick Rape, Sorority Chick, Pig Nose, 2Katchapredator, Kumdumpsta, Stikkimuffin. In a way this makes Gamer interactive, like a… eh game!
Like Crank (and its sequel) Gamer is a movie with a weird vibe. One of the strangest sequences is where Heroes’ Milo Ventimiglia stars as Rick Rape, all dressed in Latex and pulling weird spastic faces all the time. A brave role to take on for someone with his kind of popularity. Many familiar faces pop up in gamer though, John Leguizamo for instance has a small role as a fellow inmate of Kable.
The movie’s strongest point is how it portrays people controlling the Sims. Not more than once the hottest and sluttiest chicks in the controlled environment are controlled by fat guys who can’t even see their penis in front of a mirror. But the social commentary is only merely touched upon and I got the idea that the makers of the movie were going for a gross-out reaction rather than an over-thinking one.
Gamer has potential but does not reach up to it. It’s a movie with a lot of gratuitous nudity (never a bad thing), but never a tight plot. Any social commentary it seems to make in lost somewhere between the explosions and the breasts.