Gamer



Drama (2011)
92mins Ukr

Starring: Vladislav Zhuk, Alexander Fedotov, Zhanna Biryuk
Director: Oleg Sentsov
Writer(s): Oleg Sentsov
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland



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LondonNet Film Review
Gamer

Writer-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor abandon the turbo-charged action of Crank and its sequel for grim futurism in this all-guns-blazing variation on The Running Man...

Gamer. © 2009 Lakeshore Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.While Arnold Schwarzenegger's brutal 21st century game show was neatly underpinned by a Stephen King short story, Gamer has to rely on a shoddy script that has almost no character development. In place of narrative arcs and believable dialogue, Neveldine and Taylor subject us to a blitzkrieg of flashing images, cleavage and exploding craniums, which becomes exhausting after the first 10 minutes let the full running time. Editing is so quick it's impossible to make sense of anything in most of the action sequences and to add insult to tedium, the final showdown isn't just an anticlimax, it's a non-event.

In the 21st century not too far from now, virtual reality games are mass entertainment and the Machiavellian genius Ken Castle (Michael C Hall) has a stranglehold on the market with two games. The first, Society, invites members of the public to pay a hefty fee to take control of strangers and control them in situations of their choosing, forcing these real-life puppets to talk, fight and even engage in sex. However, it is Castle's second game, the brutal fighting simulation Slayers, which has everyone talking. Players take control of living, breathing, death row inmates and guide them through a series of life or death missions. If a prisoner (with the help of his human controller) should happen to survive 30 missions, he will be granted his freedom. Teenage videogame geek Simon (Lerman) is a minor celebrity thanks to his rip-roaring success on Slayers controlling buff prisoner Kable (Gerard Butler). However, as Simon closes in on his 30th victory, it becomes clear that Ken Castle will stop at nothing to prevent Kable, one of his finest creations, leaving the field of play in one piece. Luckily, a renegade band of cyberterrorists called the Humanz, including Trace (Alison Lohman) and her associates (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Aaron Yoo), are determined to topple Castle's empire and see Kable as the perfect angel of death.

Gamer. © 2009 Lakeshore Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.Gamer is an ordeal from start to finish, with nothing to recommend Neveldine and Taylor's orgy of mayhem. The tongue in cheek humour of the Crank films, delivered with aplomb by Jason Statham, has vanished entirely while Butler's trademark growl doubles for speech as his muscular hero blasts everything in sight. Poor Amber Valletta is consigned to a thankless role as Kable's wife, who is forced to keep a roof over her head by participating in Society dressed in outfits that leave little to the imagination - something this picture lacks.

- Sam Cannon


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