Starring: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Amber Valletta, Kyra Sedgwick, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Writer(s): Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Cinematography: Ekkehart Pollack
Original Score: Robb Williamson, Geoff Zanelli
Running Time: 95 Mins.
Okay, let’s just get this one straight, Gamer is not quite as batshit crazy as Crank 2: High Voltage, in fact it isn’t quite in the realms or Crank crazy, but it IS from the team up of Neveldine and Taylor, the seemingly schizophrenic directors/writers behind those two previously mentioned Statham starring cinematic headf**ks! I call them this with a certain degree of fondness, for as crazy as they may be, and they are certainly cinema at its maddest, they are at a point where you feel you should admire them for their sheer disregard for what is right and wrong in society.
So while not quite at Crank-Crazy level, Gamer treads much the same path, so we have a grunting anti-hero, this time in the much more talented from of Gerard Butler, and a plot that affords a huge amount time to blow things up, kill people and generally cause mayhem and then there is the largely pointless decision to show a total lack of respect towards women, expoitative nudity is fine by me but it needs to at least be in context or have a point, that displayed here has neither. Which is the main problem with Gamer as a whole, large segments seem to have little or no point, particularly those set in “Society”, a real life Sims in effect. It’s within the confines of this, tellingly, that most of the pointless nudity takes place.
Once again the directors inability to keep the camera still is a problem because when a potentially half-interesting action scene occurs it cuts and flashes so much that you can’t actually tell what is happening, let alone who is shooting who, it might be seen as a stylistic flourish for Neveldine and Taylor but for the viewer it is a dull and dizzying experience. With attempt’s to create a coherent plot towards the film’s end, and fundamentally one that actually is trying to make a serious point with regards to society, and the control of technology over it, you are likely to left feeling a bit confused because anything it is trying to say jars against what we have seen before. Meaning it all adds to the general mish-mash of a rather lost story.
If you want to make a point it needs to be carried through, because every time Gamer picks up one strand it seems to be dropped in favour of the next highly implausible one, cliches fly around as if the 80’s action boom never happened and Butler fails to engage despite being a better actor than the Stath he looks as lost as you will watching this.
On the plus side, and it is admittedly a very good plus side, is Michael C. Hall, seemingly the only person who knows where the film should be pitched throughout he remains the most entertaining and rounded character on display. In fact for his Sammy Davis Jr. dance sequence alone the film is worth the admission price! Having never seen Dexter or any other production with Hall in, I could safely say on the basis of this he has a bright carreer ahead.
Having a larger budget here than they did on past films allows for a strrier cast, so a number of character actors pop up, Kyra Sedgewick, Ludacris, Alison Lohman etc. most of them are needless and have a handful of scenes, and once again an attempt to introduce a Children of Men style uprising story is flagged up and shot down that again you will wonder why they appeared at all. Yes Gamer obviously wasn’t designed to be particularly original, but it should have at least had the conviction to keep to a straight story about revenge, instead it tries to be many things and essentially becomes none of them, that it has flopped in America dramatically gives you some indication that even the gore and naked women hungry public have seen it for how weak it is.
The teaming of Neveldine/Taylor has once again provided us with a rather pointless lesson is MTV film making, but this time it is nothing but a bore that only has Michael C. Hall as a saving grace.