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PHOTOGRAPHY

GAMER
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:  95 minutes, audio commentary, making-of documentary, Red One featurette, theatrical trailer
VIDEO:  1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX
Subtitles:  English/ Spanish
 

STUDIO:  Lakeshore Entertainment/ Lionsgate

Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  9-4-2009

DVD RELEASE DATE:  1-19-2010

 

STARRING Gerard Butler (Kable), Michael C. Hall (Ken Castle), Kyra Sydgewick (Gina Parker Smith), Logan Lerman (Simon), Ludacris (Humanz Brother), Alison Lohman (Trace), Amber Valletta (Angie)

WRITTEN and DIRECTED by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

ANALYSIS: 

In the near future, William Castle has become richer than Bill Gates.  He has created two games called Society and Slayers.  In Slayers, people can control death row inmates as they kill each other in a first person shooter video game.  If the prisoner survives 30 games, he gets paroled.   Kable has survived 28 games being controlled by his player Simon.  Society is where people let themselves be controlled by other humans to do weird things to each other including getting it on (sex).   Then you have a renegade group of programmers (called Humanz) looking to crack the game code of Slayers and Society, and bring it crashing down.

 

GAMER is like the 21st century answer to RUNNING MAN.  If Stephen King wrote RUNNING MAN now, the result could have been GAMER.   It is scary that our world could head in this direction as we could lose control to others in the name of entertainment.  Also GAMER works as an energetic action movie that recalls movies like DEATH RACE and RUNNING MAN.   Sometimes it is disorientating to see the action scenes like you’re looking through a computer screen.  

 

Gerard Butler is like today’s answer to the iconic action actor.  Kurt Russell and Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be iconic actors who were in action and sci-fi films.  Now it is Gerard’s turn to be that iconic action actor.  Michael C. Hall pulls off Ken Castle as a rude billionaire with no morals (imagine Dexter as a rude jerk hic and you have Ken Castle).   GAMER also gives a glimpse into the media culture that is the future of GAMER.  

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The disc has an audio commentary for the film by Writer/ Directors Neveldine and Taylor, and actors Amber Valetta, Alison Lohman and Terry Crews.  The track has some information, but the track seems too much like shooting the breeze like buddies track.    If you want to know the full story about the making of the film, check out the 80 minute making-of documentary INSIDE THE GAME: CONTROLLING GAMER which is split into three parts (Part one covers how the project came together and casting, Part two is about the crew and the production, and Part three is about Post-Production from editing to music to the small visual effects budget they had for GAMER).  GAMER was made for $50 million.   The documentary reveals interesting trivia like Gerard Butler wanted the lead for CRANK and MIA was the original choice for the character played by Alison Lohman.

 

FIRST PERSON SHOOTER: THE EVOLUTION OF THE RED is a featurette about the Red One 4K Digital movie camera which GAMER was one of the first films to use the camera.   Interviews with the makers of the Red One and the crew of GAMER are included which reveals how the directors (and cinematographer) were skeptical about the camera in addition to the problems they faced using the Red One (which the company fixed quickly).   Rounding out the extras are the original theatrical trailer for GAMER and previews for other Lionsgate releases.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   GAMER whether you hate it or love it prove you have two directors who have an energetic style that make them directors to keep an eye on.   The making-of documentary and the Red One featurette are fantastic extras that look at the making of a movie and what goes into making one.

 

This DVD review is (c)1-25-2010 David Blackwell and the movie review is (c)9-5-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com