Monday, September 7, 2009

Dart Adams presents The Dartflix Film Review: Gamer

"Gamer" was a film idea that was very topical and had a gang of potential based on the pitch alone. The trailer evoked memories of several previous Sci Fi summer blockbusters of years past but the question remained "How would the film turn out?". I'll tell you right now. Meh. First off, the back story. We're in an alternate future where the American people have been bailed out of failing economic times by a tech genius/mogul named Ken Castle. His two biggest creations are a live action avatar game reminiscent of "The Sims" called "Society" and another game called "Slayers" where users got to control the actions of Death Row inmates in a live action first person shooter/war simulation game.

The protagonist of this film is known as Kable (not at all reminiscent of Marvel's own "Cable"), he's a super soldier being used by a 17 year old famous virtual gamer in "Slayers". After 30 contests, a Death Row inmate will be set free if he manages to survive the game. The pay per view subscriptions worldwide bring in a disgusting amount of money as well. There are billboards canvassing high rises with Kable and Ken Castle's image on them all over the place. He's a modern day gladiator. Where have I seen this theme before? I can't put my finger on it? Why does this remind me of that movie "Death Race" that's on cable all the goddamn time again?

Is it because just like the protagonist from that film our main character has been unjustly imprisoned and all he wants to do is survive long enough in a pay per view gladiatorial game show to get back home to reclaim his family as well? Maybe that's why? Naah! While Kable gets closer to his 30th straight win he worriers because the delay (ping) between his users commands and his actions can potentially get him killed in the game. Kable's family is separated on the outside while the former super soldier is incarcerated. His wife Angie has become a live action avatar for rent in the game "Society".

Ken Castle has become the richest, most famous and most influential person in America and he is a giant in the media market. The story goes that he eclipsed Bill Gates' wealth almost overnight after the creation of "Society". The idea for "Slayers" using Death Row inmates as live game avatars controlled by private users that paid for the rights came later. Quite a few excellent actors such as John Leguizamo, Kyra Sedgwick, Michael C. Hall and Alison Lohman were completely wasted in this film. Amber Valetta was only used as eye candy to be fetishized by horny males as she was dressed in slut gear per her role in the real life avatar game "Society". Ludacris was the good Black guy and Terry Crews was the bad Black guy. About that...

A hacker community called Humanz (Hip Hop spelling (?)) opposes Ken Castle's monopoly and denounce his idea of using technology that allows remote users to control the actions of other users for profit strictly to do their individual bidding. They run hacks of "Society" and even shut down one of Castle's live national TV interviews on Gina Parker Smith's talk show. There is a radius limit for "Society" users so once they leave that space the remote user no longer has control of the human avatar. The same can't be said for "Slayers" because no one has ever even gotten to 10 straight contests forget about 30. It's becoming apparent that Castle doesn't want Kable to reach 30 wins. No shit, Sherlock!

First off, the operator of the game not wanting the protagonist to survive the game and make it to freedom? Straight out of well...everything. The Black guy being head of the hacker community trying to overthrow the huge corporation and aid/free the protagonist? Think Ice-T's role in "Johnny Mnemonic" or Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus in "The Matrix" (coincidentally, both films starred Keanu Reeves). Castle's releases a huge murderous Black brute to off Kable in "Slayers" (Terry Crews as "Hackman"). Ludacris' name in the film is listed as "Humanz Brother" (?), homie sounds like he stepped straight out of a comic book (a bad one, mind you). He manages to hack into the "Slayers" game and show Kable's user how to free him. Kable escapes the game and goes looking for the Humanz & his family (this isn't "Death Race", right?)

The Humanz along with the aide of Gina Parker Smith (Sedgwick) mange to locate both Kable and his wife. They help him out so he can discover why exactly Castle wants him dead. Clue: He has information stored deep within his brain that can fuck the mogul/media giant for good. Didn't the same exact thing happen in "Total Recall"? Naah! They discover the dirty secret and now Kable snaps into action. Kinda like Jason Statham but not exactly. He shoots, he drives, he runs, he makes shit explode! Then he finds his wife and gets ready to merk Castle who turns out to be a megalomaniac bent on controlling the masses. Didn't see that one coming! *rolls eyes*

What happens next is a bunch of fight sequences. Explosions. A car chase. A significant body count. A horrible cameo from Milo Ventimiglia and a forgettable one from Zoe Bell. All I kept thinking about where other movies...namely "The Running Man", "Total Recall", "Johnny Mnemonic", "Death Race", etc. The hollow attempts at reaching out to gamers. The homages (joke) to past films from this genre. The way quality actors were wasted. The sheer predictability of the film. Let us not forget the borderline high school play dialogue. Why cast so many parts if you end up ultimately not giving a fuck about the main characters. All of them were just hollow shells. I have NO memorable quotes from this entire film. None whatsoever.

The good part is that this film didn't try to be deep. The bad part? This film didn't even attempt to delve past the surface and really engage the viewer. It was about 95 minutes long and very little of it was memorable because it all happened so fast. Especially Terry Crews role as the unhinged psycho killer that isn't being controlled. Needless to say, Hackman ended up dead. All I can say is that he should definitely be considered for the role of Luke Cage over Tyrese Gibson in the upcoming Marvel film. We discover that (don't tell me!) ...Castle has Kable's daughter *gasp!*. Also, Castle can control other people by remote so he sends an army after Kable. Kable kills them all. Then kills Castle. The end.

In conclusion, this film was completely forgettable and I'm glad I didn't pay to see it. I'll probably watch it again if it was on cable but I wouldn't Netflix it of my own free will. It was just too goddamn mediocre. It could've been pretty good provided someone put some effort into it. I give this clusterfuck of a film a maybe. Thank God it's all over now.


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