Friday, October 15, 2010

Review: Gamer (2009)

Directors: Mark Niveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Gerard Butler

You ever have a movie that you just flat out don’t like? That just rubs you the wrong way in every direction imaginable? One of those movies that just pisses you off from beginning to end? Yeah. That’s Gamer. Let’s just get this over with before I put my boot through the fucking screen.

We start off with a bunch of news reports and advertisements about a new reality TV show called Slayers, where convicts have the fated magically vague computer chip jargon inserted into them so they can be controlled manually by outside parties who play the games. We see that they are controlled by Dexter – I mean Michael C. Hall, who is an eccentric billionaire who designs these groundbreaking futuristic interactive TV show games. Among them also is Society, a play on the SIMS series where participants are paid to sell their bodies to players who control them at their whim in online gaming zones throughout the world.

Yeah. We get it. It’s like prostitution. You don’t need to shove it in our faces.

So then we get Gerard Butler as a wrongly convicted criminal toughing it out to get back to his wife and daughter – ooh, feel the tugs at your heartstrings yet? This character is just boring, as even though Butler tries, he just can’t really make such dull writing entertaining. We see some pretty clumsy action scenes as he and some disposable buddies run around and blow shit up without any control over what they do.

Yeah. We get it; it’s making a statement about the commercialization of violence. Stop trying so damn hard.

After that we get some shots of what exactly the whole Society game is like. It’s made up of mostly internet basement dwellers who sit around in their houses naked and jerk off while playing as female avatars. And one in particular who is Gerard Butler’s character’s wife! Yeah, it’s a small world after all. I guess after he went to jail she couldn’t pay the bills and had to take this demeaning job in order to put food on the table. And on top of that, her daughter has been forcefully taken away from her and put in a ‘better’ home! Isn’t this just so sad? It’s like they were trying to cram in every bad, hurtful thing they could possibly do short of making her an invalid. Oh wait. That’s exactly what they were doing.

Oh, and the guy who controls her is a particularly fetid caricature; this huge fat guy who can’t even get up to walk and has to breathe through a tube, and spends his time sitting in a chair completely naked and seemingly playing this game every waking minute. It’s so disgusting that I’d rather have my eyes eaten out by wolverines than ever look at it again. And wouldn’t you know it, the movie spends a lot of time showing us this, because apparently they decided it was the best possible way to get its message across. Why does this need to be seen? So what, did they think this movie would be too subtle if they didn’t put in a big fat parody of an internet nerd masturbating naked to online characters? That’s really insulting, and I hate the implications of this almost as much as I hate looking at this fat ass tub of lard himself.

So then Gerard Butler finds out from a mysterious source that they plan to kill him off in order to boost their ratings. Gee, that…is a complete and total rip off of Network from 1976. You really have no shame, do you? He somehow gets this really pretentious douche of a kid who was controlling his avatar – never really explained how he came to have it; he just does… - to let him go free and control his own body. He then constructs the most genius escape plan ever conceived!

…he drinks a bunch of alcohol and then pukes and pisses it up into the gas tank of a random car to drive it out of the game and escape. What would have happened if he didn’t make it to the car? Why couldn’t he have just taken the bottle itself and poured that into the gas tank? Is there any guarantee it would have worked long enough to get him out of the game? Who cares? I don’t. This is the worst idea I’ve ever heard to try and escape a place. It’s so retarded that it violates every single solitary rule of intelligence that I’ve ever held true. This is rock bottom, people. Take your seats.

He goes and finds his wife and the next half hour or so is full of half-assed action scenes, mind-boggling chase-escapes and ridiculous, unwatchable garbage with that fat guy jerking off. Yeah, now we get to see him trying to have sex with a freak in leather pants who tries to hump her doggy-style. Because this movie would have been SO MUCH LESS CLASSY without that! Fuck, this is like being lobotomized with a rusty pipe; it’s just intolerable! We really needed to see a shot of his huge, bloated stomach, didn’t we? That really gave the movie an extra edge!

So the entire rebellion group gets killed off by Michael C. Hall’s men, and I have to say this is the most believable part of this movie, as their leader is played by Ludacris. And a rapper getting shot is nothing that I can’t fathom. Finally, some grounded sanity here!

Oh, but then we find out – DUN DUN DUN – that Butler’s daughter was actually adopted by Michael C. Hall! What a shock. It is a small world after all. Why did he pick this one family to torment? Why would he even need the girl in the first place? Nothing. You could just take any explanation off any random Wikipedia page and it would make about as much sense. Truly worthless, hacked up writing.

Gerard Butler and Michael C. Hall square off after a pointless dance number that I guess I have to admit is the best scene in the movie, as seeing good old Dexter do this spacey, tripped out rendition of “Thriller” is just priceless. But it serves no purpose and the fight scene that follows is incredibly stupid. So he breaks Hall’s hold over his mind through the power of love for his daughter, who had no lines in the entire movie. Ooh, anything can be accomplished by the POWER OF LOVE! Ugh, what a load. And then he kills Hall just by making him think about being killed. Then everything is wrapped up in two seconds because presumably nobody on set could stand another five minutes working with this awful, awful script and direction.

Fuck this movie. It’s seriously unbelievable how annoying this is, and how much it rapes every fabric of good cinema that you can imagine. It’s not completely worthless, as there are some good ideas scattered here and there, but that’s just more reason to hate it. It’s just so awful and so garishly unpleasant that it’s impossible to enjoy. The acting is mediocre, the action sucks, the direction is a complete mess and the message behind it is so hammy that it’s insulting. It’s not like you have to shove everything under our noses with big bright neon lights or else we won’t get it. We can use our brains, you mongoloids. Try taking that into account next time you vomit out a script.

It’s like the Fifth Element smoked some cannabis and then went out and pissed on the scripts of Network and The Running Man, all while trying to play Call of Duty with its toes. That’s the level of insanity this movie has brought to mind! And really, people. Just go play a fucking video game. It’s more entertaining, more stimulating and far less wretched than anything this pile of alligator piss has to offer.