Release Date: September 4, 2009

Movie of the Day for Saturday, April 18, 2009
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Position Staff In Brief
38/38 John Seal Gamer couldn't be lamer
98/169 Max Braden After The Running Man, these prison gladiator movies come across as like paint by numbers imitators. Michael C. Hall makes for a pretty creepy baddie

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If you got your hopes up that this was either the film-version of the CW comedy about football players’ wives/girlfriends, The Game, or a biopic of the West Coast rapper of the same name, my apologies. Nope, this is the latest from the writer/director duo that brought us 2006’s Crank and next spring’s Crank 2: High Voltage.

Game seems to be a strange hybrid of The Truman Show, The Running Man and the online world of Second Life. In this future, people can control others via implants in their minds and guide them through real-life, multi-player games. Despite being a global star in one game called “Slayers,” a la the celebrity of Truman Burbank, Gerald Butler’s Kable fights to break free of the control, regain his life and destroy the network behind it. Given the high likelihood of action, violence and gunplay, his conflict will be more akin to The Running Man’s story execution than the surreal climax of The Truman Show, which essentially involved overcoming a manufactured fear of water.

By walking into a movie that will undoubtedly be billed as “from the creators of Crank,” viewers will know what to expect. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor wrote and directed Game, just as they did for Crank. (Here’s an interesting tidbit: According to IMDb, Neveldine dropped the “Mark” and will be credited with the mono-moniker of Neveldine for this one and the Crank sequel.)

Whether this one will be escapist fun or audience repellent hinges on how well Neveldine and Taylor deliver their finished product’s action, but the potential “message” of the film might be an obstacle given the duo’s action before logic approach. It might be unfair to primarily compare it with Crank but that is their sole effort at this point.

Regardless of their skills writing and behind the camera, Neveldine and Taylor actually have a knack for attracting talented people to projects. Along with Butler in the lead role, Michael C. Hall, who deserves an Emmy for every season of Showtime’s Dexter, is the villain, Ken Castle, who controls the games and is the brunt of Kable’s dissent. Why is this one his first film role since gaining notoriety for Six Feet Under and now Dexter? I wish I knew but I have tremendous faith in him. Joining Butler and Hall are a supporting cast of recognizable names: Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), John Leguizamo (Summer of Sam and, of course, Super Mario Bros., just had to mention that), Ludacris and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer). Sedgwick has garnered very high critical praise with awards and nominations for her role on The Closer. So, also like Hall, this seems an odd choice.

Even though not based on a video game per se but entrenched in that realm, let’s hope this turns out better than most video game-to-film adaptations. It might be self-referential enough to rise above or it just might turn people off. (Daron Aldridge/BOP)

Vital statistics for Gamer
Main Cast Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Alison Lohman
Supporting Cast Amber Valletta, Logan Lerman, Kyra Sedgwick, Ludacris, John Leguizamo, Zoe Bell, Terry Crews
Director Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Screenwriter Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Distributor Lionsgate
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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