"Are you not entertained?!"
Death row inmates allow another person to control them in violent skirmishes in hopes of attaining enough victories to earn their freedom. When one comes close to doing so, it sparks a much bigger battle.
The newest of the "Modern Colosseum" movies (more on that later), Gamer delivers a very original spin on the old standard for this sub-genre. Unfortunately, it seems it spent all of it's originality on it's science fiction, because the story itself is incredibly predictable.
The performances are strong however. Indeed, not one character feels short changed as far as portrayal here. Short changed in terms of development, however, is another story. Fans of Michael C. Hall will take great pleasure in the un-arguably odd character he's crafted here. Gerard Butler does what he does best, emanating power and an intangible sensitivity at the same time. And anyone following him from his performance in the hit 300 will not be disappointed. The action in Gamer is brutal, and I don't just mean bloody. The bare knuckle fight scenes had me wincing (a sign of quality) and the game sequences were impressively detailed.
Beyond these two all the rest of the characters, though well acted as I said earlier, are so poorly developed 90 lbs. middle schoolers would laugh in their general direction... And as I sat there wondering how I went from praise to image evoking insults in so little time, it occurred to me that that really was the experience this movie left me with. What it did well (it's action, it's intensity, and it's oddly original underlying plot) it did extremely well, and everything else seemed to just fall by the way side. Although this movie was written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Bryan Taylor, the same team that brought us the Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage. And if there is any defining characteristic to those two films it's their action, their intensity, and their oddly original underlying plots... Sounds familiar doesn't it?
Gamer was entertaining, let there be no question there. But reflection brings a craving for more exploration. There's some very clever commentary on what entertains us as a people in this movie, but by the end you assume it must just be you, as that every time they were offered a chance to explore this- they chose to blow something (or someone) up instead. Maybe that's just what I need to come to expect from these two: Lots of thunder and lots of lightning, but very little rain.
Watcher X says: Mmm... Gerard Butler
Reel Deal Recommends:
300: For Gerard Butler, satisfying action, and a story that's skin and bones on purpose.
Dexter: For a great series that showcases Michael C. Hall.