Film review: Gamer

Newsroom 05/10/2009 | 15:38

Now, the more right-wing among you might be thinking, what an ingenious way of funding the expensive prison system. But can't you see that these felons aren't just contemptible canon fodder, they're people too? Well, okay, most of them are just contemptible canon fodder, but not handsome Kable (Gerard Butler), who gives pained looks into the distance and suffers traumatic flashbacks of his wife (Amber Valletta) and daughter. In between blowing people's heads off. Kable has won 27 of the 30 games required for his pardon, and is looking forward to being reunited with his wife, who is working as the avatar of an obese, sweaty pervert in Society. But the inventor of the game, twisted uber-nerd Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall), for reasons with which the filmmakers do not wish to trouble us, is planning to kill Kable off using a murderous fellow inmate Hackman (Terry Crews), who we know is really evil because he snorts a lot. Meanwhile, a plucky underground band of freedom fighters are battling to block humanity's inexorable drift towards a world of mind control. Yes, that's right, viewers, the very future of the free world is at stake! Are you not on the edge of your seats with suspense?Violence and pornography are really wrong, see, and the filmmakers are going to show you how wrong by serving up 95 minutes of unrelenting violence and pornography. The mixed moral messages are exacerbated by the sheer level of sadism and smut throughout. Gamer must dwarf the body count in all the Rambos put together. I don't think I'm spoiling it for anyone if I reveal that in the end Kable must face-off with Castle (whom the filmmakers have doing a fey little song and dance routine to underline his depravity, in case we still weren't sure who we were supposed to be rooting for) to save his family. And, as ever in Hollywood, it comes down to a fistfight. Yes, even though the geeky super-villain is so powerful he controls the minds of a hundred million people, things must always be resolved by two guys just slugging it out. There are two slightly redeeming features in this Matrix wannabe. One is Gerard Butler. Even though he makes very little out of the character, playing Kable in Russell-Crowe-in-Gladiator mode, at least he is easy on the eye. The other is that despite its often objectionable subject matter, the cyber-dystopia is presented with some imagination and

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