Genre: Action / Thriller
General Release Date: 10 Sep 2009
Running Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes,
Distributor: Cathay-keris Films
Cast: Gerard Butler, Kyra Sedgwick, Logan Lerman
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
"Game" is a near-future action/thriller starring Gerard Butler (Kable) as the champion of an online game called "Slayers". Mind-control technology has taken society by storm and "Slayers" allows humans to control other humans in a mass-scale, multiplayer online game. With his every move tracked by millions, Kable's ultimate challenge is regaining his identity and launching an attack on the system that has imprisoned him.
Watch this if you liked: "Death Race", "Gladiator", "The Matrix", "The Condemned"
"Death Race" meets "Gladiator" with hints of "Run Lola Run" fun, as Gerard Butler bulldozes and bamboozles us through more than two hours of explosions and dirty debris in a story about societal breakdown through technological advancement. However, not even 300 more of him could save this movie from being a mildly amusing, below average shoot-em-up pinned down by fast visuals with low engagement.
Set in a not-too-distant future where the people can control other people on a empire-like gaming environment, we follow how an unwilling action hero named Tillman is a death row inmate given a shot at escape by winning an online live action game. However, other forces like evil media mogul and gamemaster Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall), ratings-obsessed talk show host Gina Parker Smith (Kyra Sedgwick) and a rebel group leader (Ludacris) come into play to force a clashing of sorts.
The talking point in "Gamer" is definitely not the action because as noted by one other reviewer, it has "low replay value". What we can amuse ourselves with is the highlight performance by TV's Dexter, Michael C. Hall, as the maniacal villain who did something screenworthy with his enourmous presence and a crazy musical sequence ("I've Got You Under My Skin") reminiscent of Alex and "A Clockwork Orange". There are also small roles for Milo Ventimiglia ("Pathology"), Alison Lohman ("Drag Me To Hell") and John Leguizamo (Ice Age 3"), not to mention a prominent parading of the freckled beauty Amber Valletta, who plays Tillman's wife in funky, plastic sex suits. She sure reminds us of Peta Wilson in TV's "La Femme Nikita". Rap star Ludacris also lives up to his name by providing a completely unbelievable and cliched turn as a rebel leader.
Somewhere within "Gamer" is a good story but unfortunately the tedious, unconvincing actioner just comes off as a computer game gone wrong and instead got projected onto a theatre screen.
One recent film that critics like to compare "Gamer" to is the 2007 actioner "The Condemned", starring wrestler Steve Austin and footballer Vinnie Jones. The critical reception to that movie was overwhelmingly negative and reviews for this one has been shaping up the same way. Oh well, at least we get a glimpse of Kyra Sedgwick on the big screen every two years, eh?
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