>> Gamer (3/10)

Gamer“Is this bad?” asks Michael C. Hall as Gamer‘s Ken Castle, the villain of the new film from Crank auteurs Mark Neveldine and Bryan Taylor.  The answer is a loud and clear “YES!”  Gamer could be viewed as either an ADD-addled exercise in deplorable, violent garbage or an astoundingly  juvenille z-grade popcorn movie, but there can be no denying that it is very, very bad.  Neveldine and Taylor are back, ladies and gentlemen, blasting good taste (and filmmaking  fundamentals) in the face with an assault rifle of a movie.

Gamer is astonishingly bad.  Gerard Butler, wearing one facial expression for ninety minutes, plays Kable, a death row prisoner fighting for his freedom as part of the televised video game Slayers.  His every movement during the game is controlled by an arrogant teen (Logan Lerman as Simon), using nanotechnology Ken Castle originally developed  for a real-life version of Second Life called Society.  Kable knows that he was framed for a crime he didn’t exactly commit, and his plight (and totally awesome high-score) gets the attention of talk show host Gina Parker Smith (Kyra Sedgwick) and an underground group of “Humanz” (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Alison Lohman, and Aaron Yoo) dedicated to stopping Castle’s use of remote-controlled people as popular entertainment.  It’s as if Neveldine and Taylor watched Paul W.S. Anderson’s Death Race and WWE’s The Condemned and decided that those movies were way too brainy.

Frankly, as bad as it is, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen.  Michael C. Hall seems to be playing the love child of Foghorn Leghorn and Rob Liefeld, and, in the film’s climax, leads a group of Slayers‘ contestants in a Sammy Davis Junior lip-synched dance sequence.  The Society subplot is both hilarious and irritating, filled with extras apparently cosplaying as incidental Fifth Element characters, constantly humping each other under the control of a sweaty, grey-skinned, naked fat guy eating waffles with his bare hands and making Amber Valleta crawl around a shag carpet on all fours (with the camera tastefully pointed directly at the parts of her where the sun don’t shine).

The action in Gamer is so spastically edited, so full of forced techno-glitches,  it makes Tony Scott look downright Kubrickian.  These aren’t action sequences so much as they are poorly-shot scenes of Butler running around objects that are exploding.  No rules to the game are ever established (a pretty big detail when your movie is about a game) and all of the gunfire serves to only break up the quick-edit views of the only things Neveldine and Taylor are actually interested in, namely sports and women’s breasts.

As a matter of fact, they get so distracted by basketball and girls flashing boobs, that they forget to fill in major logic gaps in their story.  Characters are introduced as important, then promptly dismissed when it comes time to explain their actual purpose to the plot (Terry Crews and John Leguizamo, specifically).  In this movie, no one ever has any motivation for any of the actions they take.

In one of the stupider moments in a film with more stupid moments than any other movie this year, Kable asks Simon to disconnect him and let him roam free in the game.  Simon obliges, but Kable doesn’t anticipate it, and downs an entire bottle of vodka before a firefght, nearly getting himself killed.  There’s no explanation as to why Simon would disconnect, or why Kable would get drunk before a game–it just happens.  (This idiotic sequence continues with Kable discovering the first truck he finds runs on ethanol, so he pukes and pisses in the gas tank to get the truck to run.)  When Kable finally makes it to the end of his journey, we never get an answer as to why he was framed in the first place.  He finds out the bad guy did it and he gets his revenge on the bad guy.  All of this is simple, sure, but it’s also completely retarded.

Everyone involved with Gamer should be embarrassed to have this on their resume.  To its credit, it’s never boring, but any fun I had (I laughed way too much) was at the expense of a movie that thinks that it’s being stylish and clever when it’s only being childish and abrasive.  I can imagine a small minority of folks defending the film as “dumb fun”, but, even then, the reality is that  Gamer is a scummy bottom feeder of an action movie, designed specifically to titillate emotionally stunted young males with unhealthy doses of blood splatter and leering sexuality.

3 on a 1 to 10 scale



  1. Something must be wrong with me. Your review actually makes me want to see this.

    Good review by the way.

  2. He got drunk on purpose. >.>

    • Yes. You are right. He did not accidentally get drunk. That much is true.

  3. Seriously, dude, you should lighten up a bit LOL Did you really think they were going for Oscar nominations w/this movie? Also, sorry you didn’t have the pieces of the plot weren’t explictily spelled out and you were required to do a little thinking and deductive reasoning. Did you really need to know anything more than Kastle used Tillman to kill his friend in order to cover up the shady side of what he was doing with his nanotechnology? I don’t consider myself much more than an average movie goer and I saw where the drunk thing was goin’. It’s a good movie…not as good as some, but a helluva lot better than others I’ve seen this year (Harry Potter comes to mind). and the kicker is, it gets better everytime you see it. Add Gerard Butler to the mix and it was downright awesome! Truthfully, as long as GB plays to his fans outside of his movies, nothing he ever does will ever truly be a huge loss for him. The ladies LOVE GB:)

  4. “The love child of Foghorn Leghorn and Rob Liefeld” – CLASSIC!

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