In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a 'doom'-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. Or won't he?
A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal.
A bounty hunter learns that his next target is his ex-wife, a reporter working on a murder cover-up. Soon after their reunion, the always-at-odds duo find themselves on a run-for-their-lives adventure.
Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates.
In London, a real-estate scam puts millions of pounds up for grabs, attracting some of the city's scrappiest tough guys and its more established underworld types, all of whom are looking to get rich quick. While the city's seasoned criminals vie for the cash, an unexpected player -- a drugged out rock 'n' roller presumed to be dead but very much alive -- has a multi-million dollar prize fall into... See full summary »
Set in a future-world where humans can control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments, a star player from a game called "Slayers" looks to regain his independence while taking down the game's mastermind. Written by
Three films in one -- nuanced & stimulating in every way
The premise of "Gamer" is resoundingly simple: What if gamers could control actual people? Coming into the theater, due to the simple premise and embarrassingly poor marketing of the film, I was expecting a brainless, adolescently indulgent action flick. What I got was a mind-blowing surprise.
"Gamer" is three films in one: (1) Subculture examination of the gamer ethos; (2) Pulse-pounding action movie; (3) Thought-provoking science fiction piece.
As others have mentioned, this film truly brings the gamer experience to the big screen. The battle shots bring MMORPG first-person shooters to real life, and the Sims/Second Life-like scenes played just as true, right down to the robotic, singlemindedly determined motion of the characters. The directors obviously spent many long hours gaming in preparation for this film (or just for fun).
As an action film, "Gamer" holds its own, delivering plenty of fights, battle scenes, and adrenaline-soaked moments. Hollywood knows how to do action, and in "Gamer" you see some of what it has learned from films like "The Matrix", "Saving Private Ryan", and others. I won't say too much, but there's a particularly juicy scene involving some kind of giant snowplow.
"Gamer" shines most brightly, and most unexpectedly, as a science fiction piece. The film interweaves themes familiar to our 2009 reality, including economic desperation, prison overcrowding, the fallout of materialism, and technology naively promoted as a panacea for society's ills.
"Gamer" shows us a society addicted to technology at the expense of facing reality. Masses of gamers, locked in adolescence or enraptured by the promise of mindless self-indulgence without consequence, living solely through their avatars. Desperate segments of society, the poor and criminal, who have surrendered control of their bodies to the will of gamers. A populace that embraces televised war games as a solution to prison overcrowding, rather than addressing the true causes of mass imprisonment. The megalomaniacal pushers of technology running largely unchecked as the masses surrender control.
Michael C. Hall delivers a breakout silver screen performance as the multifaceted Ken Castle -- after his great work in Six Feet Under, this is another power move for his career. Kyra Sedgwick nails her cougar reporter character, who begins the film as another no-conscience profiteer but becomes more through the course of the film. And Gerard Butler plays the hero archetype admirably, as every bit of the man who his spoiled teenage gamer-puppeteer cannot become.
"Gamer" may end up as a cult classic, a slowly growing mainstream success, or could stay underrated indefinitely, but it's definitely worth a view.
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