FILM REVIEW: Gamer

Neveldine/Taylor strike back with their post-Crank offering of virtual-reality/evil media conglomerate/wronged death row inmate/future deathsport/mega-bucks TV show pick’n’mix plot strands that in many ways feels like Neil Marshall’s Doomsday in its attempt to hark back to a certain breed of action film, but tries to do far too much all at once.

As you’d expect from the Crank boys, it looks quite spectacular (deliberately dodgy green-screening notwithstanding) and it’s edited to within an inch of it’s life and feels like the screen is going to overload at certain points (sometimes it does). But as you might also expect, there are plenty of absurdist tangents, surreal gags and major boobage. In a sense, it’s too bizarre and peculiar to satisfy the Michael Bay crowd, but too mean-spirited and base to be fully enjoyed as a dumb but fun ‘splosions flick. However, there is still much to be thankful for and its constant efforts to attach such a weird shooting style and sense of humour to what is a pretty pedestrian plot is commendable.

And if there’s anything that keeps it afloat, it’s the cast, though not so much in terms of their acting ability (Gerard Butler seems to just channel Russell Crowe in Gladiator and add nothing else), though Michael C. Hall is a highly entertaining and quirky super-villain, as you might expect from playing Dexter. Rather that the entire supporting cast is populated by a multitude of known faces, some in blink-or-you’ll-miss-it cameos, many of them Pathology and Crank alumni (see if you can spot Efren Ramirez and Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman). The highlight of these is undoubtedly Milo Ventimiglia, who in about a minute of screen time as the charmingly-monikered Rick Rape, demonstrates a gleefully sick side that you would never see in an episode of Heroes.

While it’s hard to champion Gamer in quite the same unabashed fashion as Cranks One and Two, if you weren’t put off by exploding breast implants in Neveldine/Taylor’s last cinematic endeavour, you might be able to stomach Gamer, and, dare I say it, enjoy it.

6/10

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