Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Gamer" (2009) - Movie Review

What a shocker from Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the two guys I hated for making not one but two worst movies in “Crank” and “Crank 2: High Voltage” to bring a worthy film. In “Gamer” a trailer filled with action and violence, the expected fare from these two men were not a secret. Gore, sex and colours of insanity to make a head spin and brain fry was the fodder they were destined to cater. Instead “Gamer” fits their profile and for once they make sense and a style of vigour in their presentation showing that they are not aspirant Hollywood sell outs or kids with amazing equipments and misplaced funding going crazy.

In this futuristic world, they have made the perfect entertainment for the blood thirsty emotionally empty audience over the globe which is to fuse the reeking reality television with the guiltless first person shooting video game. The man behind this real life game is Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) and he feeds on this control. He succeeded in providing a game resembling Sim City which is called Society. In this game people are paid to be controlled by players who of course pay for this freakiness. The success of that game and the downing prison funding gave birth to Slayers. If Society plays on the fantasy of sex, Slayer picks up the death row cell mates and put into setting where the objective is not much explained than to shoot every moving thing. Survive 30 battles to be free is the deal the inmates get. In this Kable (Gerard Butler) has survived 27 battles and he is been played by a seventeen year old Simon (Logan Lerman).

The film more than the thrill plot is about the setting and the style these directors employ. Food, sex and violence are spilling and overflowing out of the multidimensional television and the actual people volunteer to do this. Kable or his real name Jon Tilsman’s wife Angie (Amber Valetta) is the body controlled in Society by a dangerously obese and sick man (Ramsey Moore). Every frame contains either blood spattering on the camera, chunks of disgusting food been eaten disgracefully by people or the eye hurting colours, lighting providing the tent for orgies. It is not an exploitation but a reflection of how the exponential growth of the current trend of entertainment leads on to become. This world visualized by Neveldine/Taylor is titillating on the gadgets of the environment and terrorizing on the age of destruction and moral suicides.

“Gamer” as much preposterous its plot sounds and happens is a better and balanced film. The directors do not make it a game but an interlace of the first person shooting in a format which works both on guiltless action and thought provoking scenarios. The idea of controlling originates on the nanotechnology marrying the biometrics. They insert a living cell which replicates and becomes a receiver of commands thus pulling the strings. So even though Kable can see or sense the surroundings of his opponents, he cannot turn or pull the trigger as he desires. He depends on Simon who indeed is good for Kable but the other players get their icons killed.

As cheesy the idea sounds, the story moves fast and never stops for the emotional catering demanded by a formula action movie. Here the mass hysteria of this environment and entertainment becomes the film rather than the characters. The characters as the puppets in the games becomes so. And the styles of these two men are real and proper than completely misplaced exploitative images in their previous films.

“Gamer” has Michael C. Hall as over the top, comical and zealous villain in Ken Castle. He is a true entrepreneur and an egomaniac with love for his invention and the empire he has built. In the final confronting scene, Hall’s Castle does a dance number with his puppets who are inmates badly hurt. That tells a lot about Neveldine/Taylor whom I have only seen do things wrong with the same kind of presentation. Their imagination and affection for the blindingly and flashy colours with the gaming ambience did not work as the entertainment they thought is best for in those films. Here they breathe life into it. It takes a rightly made story, plot and very importantly a liking for its material.

I did think that they could have done something great with a material of this kind. The novelty of this science fiction conglomerating with the pulp presentation gets a teeny little boring as it saturates. Yet they take out Kable from the gaming world to the real world when that happens. I saw nothing but stupidity and raw embrace for the manipulative and cheap entertainment in Neveldine/Taylor in their Crank films but now I understand what they were trying to do and how miserably they did it. I also understand that they believe in their material and would give them chance, a darn better chance for their next venture.

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