Thursday, September 10, 2009
REVIEW: GAMER (B)
Do you see the above picture? That's basically what Gamer (B) is. Gamer is a deranged movie, made by deranged people (the Crank auteurs, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor), for audiences who like a little deranged entertainment. What I find so interesting about the down and dirty Neveldine/Taylor aesthetic is that it's like they are drug addicts behind the camera; there isn't one single frame of Gamer that hasn't been futzed with in some whacked-out way. Tony Scott eat your heart out. The plot? Ha! It's the near future, and the hottest form of entertainment is something called "Slayer," a role-playing, reality-based video game where convicts are thrown onto an urban battlefield and have to fight to the death. Except the twist is that they are merely avatars for their users; in the case of the film's hero, Kable (Gerard Butler), a 17 year-old punk. Neveldine/Taylor attempt some half-hearted satire but their skills with writing strong dialogue aren't on the same level as their ultra-sophisticated visual style. But I doubt anyone who pays $10 to see this vomitorium of graphic violence and sexual perversity will be thinking much about story or character development. Gamer is what it is and Neveldine/Taylor make no bones about the vicious types of entertainment they like to unleash. The film is as unapologetic when it comes to violence and sex as the Crank movies were, but the difference here is that with Gamer, the psycho writer/directors have tried to make a "movie-movie," and their overall success is a bit limited. Everything works in the Crank films because those films are essentially R-rated Looney Tunes adventures. Gamer has shades of Death Race and The Running Man and even the little-seen Edward Furlong horror/thriller Brainscan. I enjoyed the movie for what it was -- an assault on my senses. The cinematography is ferocious and visceral and there are a few overhead battle sequence shots that were simply incredible. And the Body Double-esque mid-film music video dance sequence/fight was an inspired bit of lunacy. It's silly but fun action-movie trash that could only come from the sick minds of Neveldine/Taylor.