Sep 25 2009 The Journal
Running time: 1hr 34mins
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michael C Hall
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Star rating: 1
WRITER-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor abandon the turbo-charged action of Crank and its sequel for grim futurism in this all-guns-blazing variation on The Running Man.
While Arnold Schwarzenegger’s brutal 21st Century game show was neatly underpinned by a Stephen King short story, Gamer has to rely on a shoddy script that has almost no character development.
In place of narrative arcs and believable dialogue, Neveldine and Taylor subject us to a blitzkrieg of flashing images, cleavage and exploding craniums, which becomes exhausting after the first 10 minutes.
The editing is so quick, it’s impossible to make sense of anything in most of the action sequences. And the final showdown is a non-event.
In the 21st Century, not too far from now, virtual-reality games are mass entertainment and Machiavellian genius Ken Castle (Michael C Hall) has a stranglehold on the market with two games.
The first, Society, invites members of the public to pay a hefty fee to take control of strangers in situations of their choosing, forcing these real-life puppets to talk, fight and even engage in sex. However, it is Castle’s second game, the brutal fighting simulation Slayers, which has everyone talking.
Players take control of living, breathing, death row inmates and guide them through a series of life-or-death missions. Gamer is an ordeal from start to finish. , with nothing to recommend Neveldine and Taylor’s orgy of mayhem. The tongue-in-cheek humour of the Crank films has vanished entirel