Thursday 13 February 2014

Gamer Review: More Than Just A Game

Gamer Film Review

Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

UK Release Date: 16th September 2009 

Running Time: 95 minutes

Starring: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Ludacris, Terry Crews, Logan Lerman

Set in the distant future, "Gamer" follows Kable (Gerard Butler), in a world where people can be controlled by others in games. Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) is the creator of the games; one is called Society and the newer game is titled Slayers.  It is Slayers that Kable is controlled in and it uses death row convicts as the controllable real life characters within the game, however if they can survive 30 sessions they are allowed to go free.  "Gamer" is an okay film filled with tonnes of action scenes that coincide with an interesting idea for a storyline which unfortunately does not fulfil its potential.

Gerard Butler as Kable and Logan Lerman as Simon in Gamer
Simon (Lerman) controls Kable (Butler) in "Gamer" (2009)

Butler plays his typical action hero role as we have seen time and time before in films such as "Law Abiding Citizen" (2009) and "Olympus Has Fallen" (2013) with both of these being much better movies.  However, there is nothing wrong with Butler's performance, it is just very similar to what we have seen before. The character is perfect for him, innocent but caught up on the wrong side but eventually does his best to do the right thing. 

We were more impressed by Hall's performance as Ken Castle.  You will probably know Hall from his title role in the hit TV series "Dexter" (2006-2013) where he plays a Miami Metro forensic officer who is also a serial killer. "Gamer" was released in the middle of the run-time of "Dexter".  We watched the whole 8 season of "Dexter" in the last year (that's a lot, we know) and surprisingly when we saw Hall we did not associate him with Dexter Morgan.  Sometimes, it is difficult for TV series characters to come out of their roles for the big screen but Hall does this very well. He actually plays the villain in this movie impressively. He is very creepy, insane and he really does show that he can hold a spot in a movie as well as a TV series. 

Michael C. Hall in Gamer
Michael C. Hall as Ken Castle in "Gamer" (2009)

The film itself is okay.  It is full of actions scenes both 'in-game' and in the usual world.  However we did find the camera shots not great, especially during Slayers.  It was difficult to grasp what was going on as it was moving so fast with plenty of explosions and gun fire.  If you like any of the shooting video games then you will most probably like this film.  What we did like was some of the technology it showed.  Simon (Logan Lerman), is Kable's controller and the computer he has is very impressive. It is very similar to Tony Stark's in Marvel's Iron Man film franchise and it is always interesting to see technology like this.

Overall "Gamer" is a standard action film that really only offers action scenes.  The storyline is okay but could be better. It could be developed further to make it flow easier as the original concept is good.  The film's characters are okay, although they are quite one-dimensional and you cannot really create an emotional link with them. If you love action then is a great film for you and if you liked "Dexter" then you will enjoy seeing Michael C. Hall in a different role and it will be interesting to see him on the big screen again, whenever that me be.

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews

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