Thursday, February 11, 2010

What I Think Of - Gamer (2009)

It's time!!! Turn on your video-game systems and dream... Game On. This 2009 sci-fi action film is written and directed by the guys behind the Crank films, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. In the near future, mind-control technology is the most popular form of entertainment, making its creator Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) the most powerful man in the world. His newest foray into mind-controlling entertainment is also his most popular, a game called Slayers, where average gamers can take control of death-row inmates and use them to fight one another for their freedom, first person shooter style (such as in Halo of Call of Duty). Gerard Butler plays Kable, the most popular Slayer who is only one game away from surviving and getting his freedom. However, turns out that the powers that be are conspiring against him and will do anything rather than set him free. Kable must take control of himself, escape, find his missing family, and piece together the life he once had that was so unfairly taken away from him.

Frankly with the world going the way it is, with our current obsessive abuses of technology, a world where everything is a game and everything is "real" doesn't strike me as being far fetched. Ever play the computer game Sims? Ever play the social networking juggernaut that is/was Second Life. Ever wished it was more realistic, more encompassing? Well in the world of Gamer you have that option in the form of Second Skin, a world where actors are implanted with chips in their head that basically make them avatars, mindless mannequins where people at home can live out their fantasies through them. Are you a guy that always wished he was a hot babe? Welcome tot he world of Second Skin. It's concepts and story executions like those that raise Gamer from being just another generic action flick to something more. This is a what if world, if Big Brother liked video-games.

If you've seen the two Crank films then you know what you're going to get with Gamer- kinetic high paced action, extreme close-ups, feelings of drug-induced hazes, shaky-cams and extreme amounts of violence and sex. Gamer lives in the excesses of the directors, Neveldine and Taylor's, minds and frankly I wished I was there too. Seriously though, this film is not art, it's not even pop-art, it's stupid mindless brilliance, and I can barely recommend it.

When I first sat down to watch this film, I was expecting a mediocre action flick, with some slick editing (thanks to the directors), some Gerard Butler goodness and some killer Michael C. Hall Dexter creepiness. What I got was a really interesting and fun action flick that was an allegory for our modern way of life. Yes that's right, I said Gamer is an allegory for our modern way of life, the over-emphasis technology has on our lives and the importance we put on our cyber lives rather than our real lives. While I've never gotten into the whole Facebook, Myspace, Twitter revolution that seems to be going on for everyone that I know, I still am guilty of spending hours upon hours online, mindlessly surfing, clicking, typing, and then bam it's night already and where did my day go. Gamer just takes all that, mixes it up in a blender with 2 whole bottles of Vodka, then lights it on fire as you drink it.

You can catch the film on dvd now and I'd at least recommend renting it. Is it any good? No. Is it nicely made and mindless fun? Hell yes. You can enjoy a marathon of excess with the 2 Crank films, this film and end it all with the Italian film Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (which is frankly the sickest film I've ever seen). Gamer just messes with your mind the whole time, and if you're like me and love playing first person shooters like Halo and watching hyper chaotic bloody action films, then yeah, check this one out.

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