Gamer (2009)

Gamer (2009) — So my family and I went to see this.  My dad went because my mom and I wanted to see it.  My mom went because she had it confused with the upcoming Bruce Willis film Surrogates [she realized her mistake when a trailer for Surrogates ran before the movie].  So those were their excuses.  I actually wanted to see this movie.  I really hated it for about the first half but then it got better until it reached a level of mere mediocrity.  It has a good enough sci-fi premise but writer/directors Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor obviously are ripping off much better movies like The Running Man.  The shaky camera shit they used a lot in Crank & Crank 2 worked for those movies when the main character spent pretty much the whole time tripping, but in this movie it’s just annoying.  Once again, Gerard Butler’s accent sounds insanely fake.  He needs to take the Sean Connery route and just play every role unapologetically Scottish.  Michael C. Hall is weird and over-the-top but the whole movie is weird and over-the-top.  Ludacris plays the rebel character who existed in several Schwarzenegger sci-fi movies (like the guy in The Running Man who wanted to bring down the network).  There are a couple deliberate visual nods to Blade Runner, a movie that Gamer is not even a pale imitation of.  It’s all very loud.  Not in a very fun way.  There’s a lot of weird degradation in the movie that I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be social commentary or titillation but it fails miserably at whichever it is attempting.  There’s some good violence, when it’s not marred by the weird camerawork.  Terry Crewes makes a good psycho villain which is cool since I’ve only seen him before in comic roles.  Actually the film has a pretty good roster of reliable character actors like Michael Weston, Kyra Sedgewick, Allison Lohman, John DeLancie, Keith David, John Leguizamo, Zoe Bell, Aaron Yoo, and Milo Ventimiglia.  None of them really do that well here.  After the Crank movies I hoped Neveldine and Taylor would be new action visionaries but a lot of what worked in Crank really fell flat in this movie.  Plus those movies had a sense of humor and this one seems to take itself way too seriously.  Gerard Butler is in broody mode.  Schwarzenegger always brought a sense of humor to these types of roles.  Mainly this movie reminds me how much I want Schwarzenegger back doing movies again (and not all that other stuff he’s doing).  It seems like there’s a good movie buried somewhere in the wreckage of this one.

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