13th September 2009

Gamer – The Movie

95 minutes
Rated R

We went. We saw. We were not disappointed. We weren’t in awe either, but it was still some decent escapist entertainment – just like a video game. It’s not a movie I would recommend for someone who has absolutely no involvement in video games, because much of the movie plot would be lost on them. The good points include the fact that I think they cast their lead characters well. Gerard Butler makes a very good video game hero and Michael C. Hall played a convincing digital media mogul evil end-game boss while Logan Lerman did very well as the tech-geek-MMO-FPS player.

This was a movie which was definitely meant to cater to the typical male gamer crowd as its audience, but the storyline was at least somewhat redeeming. Game world cliches were bountiful in both visual and Gameraudio moments, some very subtle, some not so subtle. I’m not sure I like that the token girl gamer got her head blown off so early in one of the levels, either.  At least there was at least one other tepidly strong female character in the movie – and I’m not talking about the female characters portrayed “in game” either.

The writers crammed as much about the gaming world into this movie as they could, and it would be very easy to miss many of the references if one wasn’t paying attention, such as the tea-bagging which occurs early in the movie or the Blade Runner costume which appears later. Then again it’s hard to miss the parallels drawn between what can go on in the gaming world and the real world, such as the waffle eating mega-sized apartment-dwelling male who overly enjoyed controlling a female character in the movie’s parody of Second Life with a “real life” game called Society.

There were many similarities between Gamer and Death Race, and even possibly Condemned. There were some excellent explosions and vehicle wrecks, but the weaponry was fairly basic with one or two upgrades. The story also brought in some interesting concepts in order to flesh out the evil digital media mogul’s dastardly plan. Without spoiling the end of the movie for those who may not yet have seen it, there is one final subtle message soon after the “boss battle” which involves some of the boss’ henchies but before the hero drives off into Game Over land with his rescued damsels in distress.

Gamer isn’t a movie which we’ll be rushing out to purchase when it’s released on DVD, but I’m sure it will take its place in gamer lore along with Hackers and War Games. We will probably catch it when it hits the small screen on Movie Central, just to see what other subleties we missed.

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