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agentorange [Celluloid 01.14.10] movie review cyberpunk scifi action dystopic

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Year: 2009
DVD release date: January 19, 2010
Directors: Mark Neveldine / Brian Taylor
Writers: Mark Neveldine / Brian Taylor
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 6.7 out of 10

I was pretty hard on Gamer when it first hit theaters. Not on Quiet Earth mind you, but behind the scenes. I thought the film viciously exploited stereotypes in creating its media obsessed future-world. Every character who plays games in the film is portrayed as either a complete pervert (Ramsey Moore), a douche bag (Logan Lerman), or just plain evil (Michael C. Hall). Not really a surefire way to get the real gamers of the world to rally around your film, now is it? I also thought the story was a tad sloppy. The "Humanz" storyline is given short shrift and the climax seems to spring from nowhere and with little build-up. And of course, like others, I moaned about the action and how it felt ill-conceived and used too much hand-held footage to hide its low budget. But you know what? After revisiting the film on DVD, I may be a little turned around on the subject.

Ironically, it was our girl Marina who was "man enough" to give the film one of its first glowing reviews. Her feeling was that the real joys of Gamer are in its packaging, and I think that's true. Even though it doesn't offer much that we haven't seen before, the frenetic, in-yo'-face Neveldine / Taylor treatment is what gives Gamer its juice.




Thing is, it's really only on a second viewing that many viewers are apt to appreciate the good stuff going on here. Stuff like midgets in fun-fur, dance routines that morph into fights and a creepy-ass Milo Ventimiglia pulling his pud through latex pants (you go Peter) is too much to swallow on first viewing and really kicks you out of the film. When you know what you're in for though, it's all far less jarring and easier to appreciate as a unique vision.

The camera-work and action scenes also play much better on the small screen. It's way easier to digest what's happening and it allowed me to appreciate the kind of filmaking these guys are up to. Very intense stuff.



On the DVD front, fans of the film will be really happy to know that the DVD has come lovingly assembled. Neveldine and Taylor are all over it to provide some insights into their mad minds and what they were thinking when they envisioned the wild world of Gamer. A comprehensive, feature-length look at the making of the film is both informative and entertaining. However, the boys are a little too busy cracking on their own movie in the commentary track. It's fun to listen to, but I longed for more insights into their vision, the world of Gamer and their philosophy on filmaking in general (because I really think that the duo are on the cusp of an exciting new scene).

Now that 2009 is over and I've taken a little time to think back at the films that stood out, I think Gamer may have gotten left behind and I'm glad I took another look at the film on home video. It's a grimy, nihilistic vision of the future that's destined for cult status.

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Anonymous (4 years ago) Reply

this was a terrible, terrible film.

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lbj (4 years ago) Reply

Seconded - awful film. Anything more than a 3 is being extremely generous here.

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Anonymous (4 years ago) Reply

Now, while I'm in critical mode.
I love this site, really I do but..
where is the review for The Road? This is bad form. The Road may well be THE seminal PA movie and a review is nowhere to be seen. I repeat, this is a PA site? C'mon guys..

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Anonymous (4 years ago) Reply

they have 2:

http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2009/10/22/The-Earth-is-badder-than-you-could-ever-be-Another-positive-review-of-THE-ROAD

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JackCrow (4 years ago) Reply

Gamer = garbage.

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trogen (4 years ago) Reply

i thought this was underated. id give it a 7/10 . some really cool ideas come out

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FALLEN101 (4 years ago) Reply

I thought it was blissfully average. Not a whole lot of good but not a whole lot of bad either, I just wish I hadn't spent all the money to see it in theaters and had just waited to see it on DVD.

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DirtyRobot (4 years ago) Reply

I thought it was completely dreadful, except for the wildly random Michael C. Hall dance number!

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zeitzeuge (4 years ago) Reply

Gamer is a very decent Cyberpunk Movie. Evil Corporation, Media, Worlddomination, Hacker-Rebels and a lots of action!

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rek (4 years ago) Reply

I thought it was really good. Excellent production values, interesting new ideas, solid acting and dialogue. Somewhat weak ending, and some characters are underused, but overall it's fun and entertaining.

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Kevlar (4 years ago) Reply

I really thought it was kinda "meh" when I saw it in theaters. I walked out and like 20 minutes later I had moved on to other thoughts. However, I recently picked up the Blu-ray for $9.99 previously viewed, don't know why considering the first time around it was sitting at a 5 for me, and give it another look. I must say I enjoyed it more the 2nd time around in Hi-Def on my 25 inch screen. It's still not phenomenal, I've seen much better action movies and read much better cyberpunk (William Gibson ftw) BUT it is a decently enjoyable hour and half divergence. I don't mind turning my brain off and watching a decent action flick every now and then, and that's what this is. I'd say a 6.5 is "fair"

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chlordane (3 years ago) Reply

I am buying the blu-ray of this, seriously, this is decent cyberpunk, not the best, but better than the worst.

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SumMary (3 years ago) Reply

There are some very discerning genre consumers posting on this site; real connoisseurs. I'm a little more simplistic. If Gerry Butler's in it - I'm there - totally cast driven.

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RG (3 years ago) Reply

I watched it last night on Netflix, and really liked it. Good story, lots of action and skin, and a Luda cameo role. How can you go wrong. Butler was great in this role and Crews was a unexpected treat. Great popcorn movie, I'd watch it again for the action I missed.


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