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The Gamer

March 24, 2010

The Gamer

The Gamer

This high action film doesn’t quite work at the same level as some of the other so bad that they are good, but it is quite entertaining.  The plot just falls apart in the film and everything else is pretty B.  It just doesn’t keep going quickly enough to put it up to the level of a film like Crank.

The story is very absurd and in many ways a new age version of Death Race 2000.  Dangerous criminals are pitted against one another in a game to the death and they can survive by making it to a save point.  To make it even more interesting, the criminals aren’t controlling themselves.  People are paying big money to control a criminal.  This is a second game put out by Michael C. Hall’s character, Ken Castle’s, already popular game of life.  Gerard Butler plays a criminal, falsely accused of course, who is the best at the game.  The guy who is controlling him is about ready to win and get him out of prison.  However, that can’t happen, obviously, so Ken Castle conspires against him and puts in a non-user controlled killer who has an advantage because he doesn’t have any lag time slowing him down.  He breaks out of the game and starts searching for his wife and daughter.  From there he tries to take down the company and show that Castle is trying to take over the world.  The problem is that the end just falls apart.  I don’t care if it is a dumb action film, but it has to wrap up neatly.  Instead of tying it all together nicely in a bow, they superglue it together however is easiest.

The acting in this film is very suspect.  Michael C. Hall gives a hilarious performance as Ken Castle.  It is an absurd character and Michael C. Hall just hams it up for his performance.  And he has an amazing song and dance routine in the film.  Gerard Butler is fine in his role.  He really doesn’t do much in terms of acting, but he does a good job kicking some ass.  There are some other actors of note, or people of note in this film.  Chris ‘Ludacris’  Bridges plays the head of the insurgents trying to take down Ken Castle’s company and it is a very uninspired performance.  Kyra Sedgwick plays a TV reporter who is interested in what Ken Castle is doing and is on the fence until she meets up with the insurgents.  She has a series of inexplicable actions towards the end of the film that just leave you scratching your head as the whole end of the film does.

Visually this film is interestingly done.  The action sequences in the game are shot as if they are in a video game.  The whole thing works extremely well that way.  It isn’t amazingly shot, but it works for what they are trying to do.  When they get into real life it is just kind of boring, but the action is well shot.  Some of the shots are reminiscent of Crank, which makes sense, since it is by the two writers and directors of both of the Crank films.

What hurts this film is that it can’t help be compared to Crank.  And while the end of Cranks is completely absurd, but they give you a tightly wound ending to the film.  With The Gamer it is just to off the wall and they appear to try and end it quicker then they need to.  However, when the action is in full swing, Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine are at their best.  They definitely can shoot the action very, very well.  Just for their action sequences and absurdity, this film is kind of worth checking out.

Entertainment Grade: B

Critical Grade: D

Overall Grade: C-

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