Netflix Review: Gamer

Something's coming out of that dude's face...

When I first saw the commercials for “Gamer,” I was so excited that I literally kicked my mom in the face.  Bloody, chaotic violence?  Check.  Prisoner’s getting controlled like video game characters?  Check.  Gerard Butler being bad-ass?  Double check.  So in light of all that, it begs the question… WHAT THE HELL WENT WRONG HERE?

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: there should be an academy award for creating great looking movie trailers out of garbage movies.  I don’t like being duped, but that man seriously deserves some recognition.  This movie played out like some coke-fueled hedonist’s wet dream with a carnage boner.  At no point in the rambling, chaotic, and often times incoherant narrative did anything close to resembling a plot or storyline manifest itself.

I’m not a big fan of spoilers so you don’t have to worry about reading this article and ruining the movie for yourself (although the filmmakers did a good enough job on their own… hey-OH!), but I will give a brief synopsis of the story I believe these people were trying to convey.  Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) has created a type of nano-bot that can infect and replicate inside the human brain, allowing the brain to receive signals and be “controlled” remotely like a video game character.  He uses this god-like power of technology to create a world-wide Utopia… sike!  He uses it to create a real life “Sims” game in which fat, disgusting, gelatinous shut-ins can control men and women dressed like the Fifth Element meets Back to the Future 2, making billions in the process.

We green?

The next logical step is creating a more violent version of his meta-game called Slayers in which convicts on death row sign up for a chance to earn their freedom.  The show is as controversial as it is popular.  And everyone’s favorite slayer?  Kable (Gerard Butler) who is only 4 games away from winning his freedom.  Keep in mind that the prisoners are all being controlled remotely by whatever gamer has the best tech and the biggest bank role.  Kable’s handler is some spoiled teenager who acts like your basic WoW enthusiast if his dad had given him an unlimited American Express platinum card.

This movie should have played out like some super awesome version of Gladiator, Ender’s Game, and Battle Royale all mixed together in a bloody good time of mayhem and gunfire, but fails to deliver on every level.  There is basically nothing in the way of character development, the resolution is ludicrous, and trying to follow the story is an exercise in futility.  Speaking of “Ludicris,” yeah, he’s in the movie too.  He plays some sort of underground hacker/leader/savior.  He was about as engaging as the popcorn kernel I got stuck in my teeth halfway through the movie.

Featured: engaging

I sort of, SORT OF, see what the director was going for, and at the very least there was some (very hard to understand) originality to the movie.  I loved the concept, and genuinely enjoyed Michael C. Hall’s performance.  It was almost easy to see how this world could actually exist in the future if these mechanisms became available.  There’s probably some good social commentary in there about becoming slaves to technology and unplugging from cyberspace to preserve our humanity or whatever, but by the end the only thing I wanted to unplug was my DVD player.

Have you seen the movie?  What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!

~Jonny Green