MONKEY REVIEW: Gamer

September 6, 2009

gamerI didn’t realize that Gamer was from the same writing/directing team behind the Crank movies until after I’d seen it. I’m not sure it would have altered my opinion of the movie much, but it would have explained some of the loud, crude and cheerfully morally corrupt aspects of it, anyway. Gamer is a pastiche of The Running Man, The Matrix and both Death Race movies, the original and its inferior remake: Gerard Butler stars as a Death Row inmate who has dominated a globally televised game called Slayer in which he and fellow immates wage armed combat with each other. Butler is on the verge of winning 30 session victories, which will supposedly earn his freedom, but the evil creator of the game (Michael C. Hall, who provides some fun here) has other plans. There are flashes of real wit and biting satire in the movie, along with some big ideas about identity and control in a Sims and role playing game addicted society, but the focus is on big, loud, gory and largely incoherent action. It’s too bad because moments like an unexpected musical number suggest that Gamer could’ve turned out to be a cult film on the order of Death Race 2000. Instead, it plays like something you’d see on late night cable, an acceptable time passer with lots of violence and a smattering of sex that you will probably not remember much about the next morning.

MONKEY RATING: THREE GAMER MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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