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Genre Action
Year: 2009

Gamer is brought to the big screen from the writers/directors that brought us Crank 2: High Voltage.  Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are fast becoming synonymous with extreme movies aimed at the MTV generation.  Adrenalin-fuelled action adventures that raise the dopamine levels are what they're after, and in their most recent spate of movies, they've more than succeeded.  Hiring cool actors like Jason Statham and Gerard Butler, give them instant access to their star's fans. 

Jason Statham is the epitome of 2000 macho cool, oozing with testosterone and wanting to conquer everything in his path: unruly gangsters, women and anything else for that matter.  The first Crank movie gave some indication of where these directors were headed, going with a near unbelievable heart pumping action movie.  If you’ve seen Gamer and Crank 2: High Voltage, you’ll realise that they were actually being restrained when they created Crank.

Gerard Butler plays Kabel (a mixture of Cain and Abel?) in a live-action computer game known as Slayers.  His image is everywhere: he's an international superstar and icon for the game that has revolutionised the gaming industry and cast a controversial shadow over human rights with controller chips in each character's head.  The contenders in the game are all criminals on death row, who have been given a chance to redeem themselves by outlasting and outblasting their contenders. 

Michael C. Hall (better known as Dexter) plays Ken Castle, the "Bill Gates" behind Society and Slayers. The young billionaire has seriously violated human rights, but can afford to, given each character's consent to be "whored", the game's profitability and it's worldwide popularity. When Kabel breaks free of the game, thanks to the work of Humanz, some hackers and the co-operation of Simon (Lerman) his controller, he is prompted to find his girlfriend, Angie (Valletta), a Society regular, and hunt Castle down.

Gamer continues the self-destructive path of dopamine-induced action adventure from Crank, borrowing themes from The Matrix, Strange Days, WWF's The Condemned, Contender: Series 7 and even a touch from Death Race.  The driving force behind Gamer carries a very similar energy to the Crank sequel.  Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor seem to be pushing the boundaries when it comes to what is tasteful and acceptable, even with its age restriction.  They are teenagers at heart, and must be from the gaming generation, lusting for simulated death experiences, pornography and adrenalin fuelled action.  These are some of the components that make gaming so popular these days, so it seemed only fitting that they tap into the Gamer's high.

It's a film that was loaded with potential, taking Gerard Butler from 300 and creating a high-energy epic. However, Gamer doesn't make the grade. The cast includes what can only be described as cameos from Alison Lohman, Ludacris and Aaron Yoo. The story isn't as original as it pretends to be, the performances are average and its so graphic to the point of being explicit. Behind all the sleaze is a cool gaming-inspired action adventure waiting to break free. Unfortunately, it's just as fleeting as playing a first-person shooter and while it's a rush with quick editing and cool sequences, it's way too superficial to give a damn. The film is aimed at the 13-30 male gaming populace, who will enjoy the guilty pleasures associated with the title.

Gamer adopts a number of threads from better movies, while retaining the Crank mayhem. There's plenty of topless women, guns and violence to keep the most hardened of gamers awake, but its predictable plot, style over meaning and general sleaze all boil down to an insubstansial film experience. If you're a fan of Crank, you may get a kick out of Neveldine/Taylor's latest entry, but you're not going to be on a buzz when you finish watching it.

The bottom line: Sleazy.

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