Director: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Cast: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Amber Valletta, Kyra Sedgwick, Ludacris, Logan Lerman
Video games have evolved, from those addictive, coin operated space invader type machines to the realistic, online based battle types where you play a soldier in a first person shoot 'em up situation. I personally never understood those online games, I'm too primitive.
In Gamer, our film review for the week, it is the not too distant future, and technology has evolved up to a point where games can be more real than ever. We're not just online controlling characters on a program, now the characters are in the real world itself. For instance, in this world there is a more realistic version of The Sims called Society, where real people can be controlled by online players to become anyone they choose.
But the real focus here is Society's more violent brother, Slayers. Slayers is a game where players control other people in a full scale realistic combat situation. The controlled ones are death row convicts, who are promised freedom if they survive 30 sessions. So their lives are literally in the hands of the one pulling their strings.
The top character in Slayers is Kable (Gerard Butler), a man wrongfully convicted for murder. His real name is Tillman, and so far he has survived 27 sessions of the game, thanks to his player, a young boy named Simon (Logan Lerman). However, there is word going around that the owner of Slayers, Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) will not allow Kable to survive the aforementioned 30 sessions and thus not granting him his freedom. Why? Well, there is something about Kable. He's a special man, who is motivated by his need to see his wife and daughter again, and he will do anything to see things through. Castle knows this, and thus makes it difficult for him.
Kable is not without allies though. He receives help from Humanz, an underground group who knows about Castle. Castle has implemented a special kind of technology that allows his games to work, and Humanz believes there is more to it than meets the eye, and that same technology will allow him to take over the country. Can Kable stop him before it's too late?
Directors Neveldine and Taylor have created a gritty sci-fi action film that pulls no punches with the stark violence and sex on display. Too bad the local censors removed most of it. But what's left is still a visible message on how the world would look like if technology became too advanced and people become much too reliant on it.
Unfortunately, this film suffers from bad editing and jerky camerawork, which made it difficult to follow at times. One moment you'll see Kable getting blown up, the next he's tumbling all over the place and not aware who's he shooting at. The pace keeps getting uneven and you'll get irritated trying to make sense of it all.
Butler succeeds once again becoming the action hero that you'll be rooting for, but not to be outdone is Hall, who brings his deadpan Dexter persona to the big screen as the villain. He's cool, charming and especially funny when he engages in a musical number during a confrontation with Butler. Well put by the directors. Ludacris and Sedgwick are wasted in their roles though. But do look out for minor appearances by Alison Lohman, Keith David, John Leguizamo, Zoe Bell and a very hilarious Milo Ventimiglia.
It's a film that was almost entertaining. The key word is 'almost'. (3/5)