Sometimes movies suffer from the freedom we give directors. At times the First Amendment is stretched so thin that it’s like some people struggle to express the most outrageous crap they can. Just to say they did it. But when directors go that route, the public get’s turned off to what is a fairly good story being told. That is the problem with Gamer.
Gamer is about Kable (Gerald Butler), a convict serving life in prison who competes in a online Call of Duty type war game called Slayers. The twist is he is controlled by a kid on the outside. Win 30 matches and your set free. Slayers and a second user-controlled game called Society are the brain children of Ken Castle (Micheal C. Hall). Kable wants out to get back to his wife and daughter.
I really don’t know where to start with this movie. It’s really hard to say this is a movie you’ll love. It’s one of those movies that you’ll watch and be like “oh…um….well that was goooood but…” It’s rated R for frenetic sequences of strong brutal violence throughout, and let me tell you they don’t lie about that. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are the kind of directors that go all out with their violence. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing cause it’s a need breathe of fresh air. But you can’t let the violence be what your movie is all about. The movie starts by literally dropping you in the middle of a graphic battle sequence in which one guy gets blown up. That’s the opening 3 minutes or so. I think what makes the violence rather tough to swallow is the way Neveldine and Taylor put you right in the middle of it all. They love filming on handheld cameras to get right up close to the action. It’s nice to see that but I don’t need to constantly be wiping the lens frame clean of blood, guts and gore.
If you can wade through the first 45-55 minutes of mindless graphic violence and killing you’ll be rewarded with a fairly decent plot. But that’s a bad thing. Your plot should not start when the movie is almost over. It’s like they wanted to cram as much blood, mutilation, exploding bodies and sex into the front half of this movie to turn people off of the good story. The main actors are good and very believable. Butler actually pulls off the torn and brooding convict who doesn’t like the killing he has to do but does it to get out for his family. In fact, almost all the mind controlled characters (Kable and Angie(Kable’s wife played by Amber Valletta)) hate what they have to do to make a living. Micheal C. Hall’s Castle is brillant as the eccentric creator of Slayers and Society. If anything, watch the movie just for Bulter and Halls’ acting.
Something else about this movie that really stands out to me is how based in reality this movie is. For being set in the future, everything just feels like it’s happening right now. In fact, I almost view this movie as a warning for the way technology is going. I’ll put it like this. My friend just got a Kinect for her Xbox and we were playing it. It was capturing every move I was making, much like Kable moves exactly as his controller moves on the outside. And let’s face it, mind control technology is just around the corner.
This is the kinda of movie you pop in if you have nothing else going and just need a quick fix of graphic prolonged violence. That would be my only real complaint about this movie. Just the random acts of violence. The acting is top notch, and the action is pretty crazy and intense. While you do have to sit through a pretty long intro before getting to the main point of the plot, you are rewarded for your wait with a great cast in some very believable roles.