My wife implored me to see this film because it features one of her new fav hotties, Michael C. Hall of Dexter. Of course she doesn't remember when we saw the trailer for Gamer in the theater twice before its release where she looked at me both times and gave a huge "thumbs down". But now she is love with Hall, so it's acceptable material to view...and I thought the trailer looked interesting enough to begin with. Combine that with my man crush for Hall and we had ourselves a Friday night action flick to enjoy.
Hall: "Gerard's not following Harry's Code."
The film takes place in a future where video games reach a new frontier: the characters in the games are real. So basically, normal everyday people control these human characters' movements. Think of yourself playing Super Mario Bros. for example. You are controlling Mario as he jumps and runs swims. But imagine now that Mario is a actually a real person you are controlling somewhere in the middle of the desert in a man-made set. So if you make your Mario jump too soon and he falls to his death in the game, the real man you were controlling dies for real too. Pretty fucked up, huh?
Well this technology is made possible by uber-psycho genius Nick Castle (Micahel C. Hall) who is a media phenomenon due to the creation of his innovative real-life games: Slayers and Society. While Society is like The Sims but with people partying and having sex all of the time, Slayers is Castle's bread and butter which is a bit first person shooter-esque. Gerard Butler plays Kable, who while controlled by a 17-year old kid, is the reigning champ of the Slayers universe. People watch these games live on televisions like spectators sports, so Kable is the fan favorite and his teenager user is a bit of a celebrity in his own rite. Unfortunately for Kable, he has been wrongly imprisoned in the Slayer universe and longs to get out and back to his wife and child. One problem - people who are assigned to play Slayers are death row inmates, so the only way to be free is to die or be given a full pardon if they are able to escape the Slayers battlefield. The latter is virtually impossible.
Ludacris (yup that same one) is in it at a leader of a resistance group out to expose that Castle is not the lovable tech genius he is made out to be. Apparently, Castle is not being honest about who gets thrown into the game for their life sentence. Also, Castle and Kable have some beef with each other but we are not sure what it is exactly until the end, so I won't spoil it here.
Terry Crews and John Leguizamo show up in some interesting roles. And I want to know if Amber Valleta drinks the blood of the young because she is hot as hell in this film. Seriously does the woman age? And I am glad Luda is only in it for a short time. When I saw him pop up in the trailer, I rolled my eyes and feared that he was going to have a larger presence in the film.
Ladies look to the right of this pic and guys look to the lower left
This movie was alright, which is odd for me to not feel passionately about a film one way or the other. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's not the most innovative piece of celluloid I have ever seen either. It had a lot of action and I enjoyed seeing some the gadgets in this futuristic universe at work, but there was just something about the film that felt a little off-base. It definitely was not what I was expecting because it is played straight yet a little weird at the same time. And I say that in a good way! There were also some homages to Blade Runner that were pretty funny and Michael C. Hall was excellent as the film's antagonist.
If you like action mixed with science-fiction and don't mind a little weirdness, this is a film you should check out. The writer/directors are the same team behind the Crank films which I enjoy, so if you like those films then you have to see this one as well. A recommendation to the filmmakers is to make a film about the Society universe because that would be the greatest game ever if it was real!
One final note: there was one scene that had me laughing my ass off and is by far the most memorable scene in the film in my opinion. Amber Valleta, who plays Kable's wife Angie, works in the Society game as a human character. Her user guides her into a whacked out club where she meets another human character named Rick Rape played hilariously by Heroes' Milo Ventimiglia. Maybe it is not meant to be hilarious, but the sight of Peter Petrelli where some tight ass pleather outfit, laughing maniacally and trying to score with Valleta's ass is a sight to behold. Hats off to you Milo! Please see below for Peter Petrelli awesomeness...