The concept for Gamer looked interesting enough.  Computer technology has evolved to now include video games which allow for the control of actual human beings  – including those who battle in a war-like “game” involving real weapons and real death.

Initially I thought the movie was just about Gerard Butler’s character going through the game, killing people, and possibly having some sort of moral dilemna about it.  I didn’t get interested enough to rent the movie on my own, but when it showed up on one of the channels I get for free, I set the DVR.

The movie I found was a little deeper than expected.  The creator of this human-controlling technology, a character played by Michael C Hall, has created the opportunity for people to live out their fantasies.  He uses prisoners as his soldiers – with the reward being that any prisoner which successfully survives 30 “games” will be set free.  In addition to this, Hall’s character also provides for people to live our their sexual fantasies through the use of the same technology, where the subjects are paid as if it’s a job, though they have no control over their actions during their working hours.

The execution to the otherwise solid idea falls short for me.  It’s not the video game style that puts me off, it’s the fact that it’s over produced and poorly done.  That’s not to say that the money they put into things didn’t make it look good, it was just misguided.  There are probably about a dozen or more scenes which should’ve been done in a different ways, and about a dozen or more clips as part of scenes which should’ve been left on the editing room floor.

The movie’s plenty graphic – both in its violence and its sexual content.  I don’t remember any scenes involving sexual acts, but there’s a fair bit of nudity and sex-related dialogue.  If bloody / gory violence or random / gratuitous nudity is a problem for you, this is definitely not the movie for you.

Gerard Butler kicked ass in the film, so there’s definitely not anything to complain about there.  I didn’t have a problem with anything he was really involved in.

Michael C Hall’s character was annoying, but I think that was the point.  I’m not sure if many could’ve played his role any better than he did.

Logan Lerman is the teenager who has control over Gerard Butler’s character.  There’s not much to be said about his performance except to say it wasn’t a particularly challenging or meaty role.  He did look familiar to me while watching it, and after looking it up, I remember he did a good job in past films I’ve seen him in, which include Meet Bill, 3:10 to Yuma, Riding In Cars With Boys, What Women Want, The Patriot.  I’ve yet to see him in Percy Jackson & The Olympians (though I’ll be seeing it soon) and in the not too distant future, he’ll be one of the titular characters in The Three Musketeers.

Terry Crews once again plays a psychopath very, very well, to the point where I wonder how natural it is to him.  Having seen him in other, regular roles, he’s a good actor, regardless of what his “normal state” is.

Decent performances were given by Ludacris, Alison Lohman, Amber Valletta, Kyra Sedgwick and John Leguizamo, but none of those characters would likely cause you to want to watch / avoid this film.

There were also some fun cameos along the way, namely James Roday and Maggie Lawson of PSYCH fame, as well as Milo Ventimigilia from Heroes.

If you’re in the mood for an action film and you see this movie on the shelf of the video store?  Keep looking for a while, there’s likely to be something better.  If you see it come across the Cable TV guide and you think the premise sounds decent and you don’t have any problems with graphic violence or gratuitous nudity?  Hit record and pencil in a little time to give it a chance.  It’s not the best roller coaster ride in the park, but the line’s not likely to be long and you won’t totally regret riding it.


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