Sunday, 15 August 2010

Film Review: GAMER (2009)

Writer/Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Running time: 91 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

UK release date: 16th September 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 15th August 2010.


I think at some point everybody has had a go at playing a computer game. You know, you take control of a character on a screen and make them run and jump, or you interact with other characters in some kind of simulation or you are fighting a war where you are one of the soldiers. Well, imagine doing all that but rather than just moving a bunch of pixels around a screen, you actually control a real person. This is the future of gaming that is possible with the use of Nanex, a system that, once injected into the brain, replicates itself and allows the subject to be controlled with software. Imagine a world addicted to games like this and you are in the world of Gamer.

Originally thought up by multi-billionaire Ken Castle, who came out with his first game, ‘Society’ in 2010 (according to the script). Now, ‘Society’ is a simulation where people can interact with each other in a world populated by people who have been injected with Nanex. They are willing participants and are paid to take part. Now, Castle’s next project proved to be more challenging. A war simulation called ‘Slayer’ where convicts on death row can gain freedom if they can make it through thirty levels of the game. Enter John Tillman (a.k.a. Kabel), who has already got through 27 levels and is nearing the ultimate goal and freedom. He has a wife and daughter outside who he is desperate to see since, yes you guessed it, he’s innocent of the crime he was convicted for. A gang of radicals contact Kabel and tell him they want to help him. Can he get out of the game before he is killed? Well, I’m not going to tell you here I’m afraid.

This is an interesting film for the first half and then it kind of loses a lot of its appeal. There are some great stunts and some really cool CGI work and even some very interesting scenes, but ultimately the plot lets it down. Decent performances all round, although nobody really stood out. So, honourable mentions go to; Gerard Butler as Kabel / John Tillman, Amber Valletta as Angie, Michael C. Hall (also Dexter on TV) as Ken Castle, Kyra Sedgwick as Gina Parker Smith, Logan Lerman as Simon Silverton and also nice to see cameos from John de Lancie as the Chief of Staff and John Leguizamo as Freek.

As I have already said, this film was quite interesting and absorbing for the first half but then it loses a lot of momentum and kind of drifts to an unsatisfying conclusion. The action sequences are particularly graphic and very well executed, but ultimately the weak ending lets it down for me. Worth seeing for the first half then, but ultimately disappointing and so, not really recommended.

My score: 5.7/10

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