Film, Action and adventure
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‘The Ugly Truth’ star Gerard Butler returns to the action fold as Kable, the unwilling anti-hero of the violent near-future gaming phenomenon Slayers – an online game that allows players to control death row prisoners. Created by gazillionaire mogul Ken Castle (Michael C Hall) – who at one point demonstrates his puppet-master fortitude by performing a Bob Fosse-esque rendition of ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ – this humans-in-harm’s-way competition is really a smoke screen for…world domination!

Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (‘Crank’) direct with their usual flashy brio, and basso profundo Keith David has a sublime cameo as a cop indignant at the thought of a pistachio butter sandwich. Yes, it’s that kind of movie, folks.

By: Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York


Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday September 18 2009
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Screenwriter: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Cast: Gerard Butler
Amber Valletta
Michael C Hall
Kyra Sedgwick
Alison Lohman
Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Wednesday evening, flu coursing through my veins, head about to explode. I need a release, an escape from the realities of a cold February night. Mustering just enough energy to hoist my head in the direction of the door, my eyes fix upon a rental that dropped there earlier in the day. Could this be the antidote to my woes I ask? Detaching myself from the couch I wobble over and lay claim to the new arrival. What could it be? Like Charlie Bucket discovering the golden ticket, I peel back the envelope with nervous angst. Pulling the disc partially from its jacket the title comes into view – it reads, Gamer. Ok I say, it’s not going to be Citizen Kane, but maybe some mindless fun is just what the doctor ordered. Let me tell you, I’ll never self medicate again! Bad Medicine… 300’s Gerard Butler stars as Kable in a near-future dystopia controlled by online gamers. Kable racks up an endless body count as he crusades through online environments in a bid to regain his independence. Sound familiar? It should do! Directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor brazenly draw from a raft of films including The Matrix, Rollerball, The Running Man, The Condemned, Battle Royale and more recently, Paul Anderson’s 2008 Death Race. Let me make a quick admission: I rather enjoyed the adrenaline-fuelled Crank. Here Neveldine and Taylor successfully delivered a tongue-in-cheek parody of the modern-day action flick which at times displayed genuine visual invention. So what happened with Lamer…I mean Gamer? I’ll tell you what…. Neveldine and Brian pummel the viewer into submission with a barrage of stylistic devices that induce bewilderment rather than excitement. Non-stop shaky cam, frenetic cuts, and bizarre interludes undermine any dramatic tension between the characters and subsequently you never feel the invulnerable Kable is any real danger. What results is action scene after action scene that play out like Transformers with blood – its almost impossible to tell what’s going on. It’s long been an irritation to me how filmmakers continue to misappropriate the handheld camera. Surely this cinematographic technique of dispensing with stable images marks a calculated attempt to convey realism – think of Saving Private Ryan, the Bourne films and United 93. So why the dastardly duo embraces handheld like a bull in a china shop is beyond me. It doesn’t matter how much you shake that cam boys, you’re not going to paper over the thin plot and ineffective characters High Concept…? As is often the case with high-concept films, Gamer’s basic premise wears thin around five seconds in. Displaying the grace of an elephant at a mouse zoo, the film tramples all over the basic ingredients of successful action films. Where’s the emotion, snappy one-liners, explosive/fun action, characters you care about and want to succeed? It's not rocker science, it's simple mathematics! As a result Gamer resides light-years away from high-concept classics such as Alien, Jaws, and Predator, instead plummeting into the pit of despair with Snakes on a Plane and Godzilla for companions. Big, brash, and nonsensical at times, the only thing Gamer will cure is insomnia; so proceed with caution, especially if you’re driving.

High on octane but totally pointless overuse of technology. If this is a vision of the future then I'll just commit suicide. A great film for the uninspired who spend their lives playing nintendo games.

love'd it.. sim's take off was great too, escape was a bit of a copy of other films but other wise, .. SiFi 's in this month

love'd it.. sim's take off was great too, escape was a bit of a copy of other films but other wise, .. SiFi 's in this month