Friday, November 5, 2010


This Liveblog selection was a last minute thing. I was planning to do a crappy 80s horror sequel but my last two Liveblogs were from the 80s and I was scared I might think it was a good idea to put on parachute pants in public so today I picked a movie that's barely a year old. Enjoy now as I spoil every minute of the dystopian science fiction action flick that, so far, has kept us from killing real people while playing video games. Oh yes, I'm talking a movie that just went up on Netflix Instant called Gamer starring Gerard Butler, a man who achieved great success with 300 and seems determined to never have a hit movie again.

-- The movie opened with a dingy, uninspired battle scene in some abandoned warehouse all playing to a punk version of the old Eurythmics tune from the 80s "Sweet Dreams" and DAMMIT DIDN'T I JUST SAY I WAS TRYING TO GET AWAY FROM THE 80S THIS WEEK? Anyway, lots of stuff blew up and a guy called Kable (Gerard Butler) killed lots of people. He was, apparently, under someone else's control which means...well, absolutely nothing at this point. IMDB says we're in the year 2034 and, according to this movie, in the future everyone is a surly asshole. the example of this is talk show host Gina Parker Smith (Kyra Sedgewick, a woman who does everyone she acts with a favor by putting them within one degree of her husband, Kevin Bacon) and her producer played by Star Trek actor John DeLancie. These two live their lives in some sort of duel to see who can be the biggest asshole to the other.

0:12:00 -- Dexter actor Michael C. Hall is Ken Castle, the creator of a deathsport called Slayers. This movie is one of those science fiction stories in which a contemporary technology is extrapolated to its ridiculous and really god damn unlikely extreme. In this case, that extreme is called Slayers. The game consists of deathrow inmates being given a chance at freedom. All they have to do is survive a game in which, through chips in their heads, they are placed under the control of a master Gamer (title achieved) who runs them through live ammo combat scenarios in which most of them die, all to thrill enraptured television viewers. Complete a certain number of missions and you get to go free. So, yeah, society is now so dark, vicious and nihilistic that they now want to watch graphic murders happen on live television cause, you know, they watch Johnny Knoxville get hit in the balls by a wrecking ball today so this is the next logical step. This is one of those ideas that, if you submitted it to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for their nickel-a-word rate, they would reject but you can convince movie studio executives who think science fiction is stupid and probably couldn't even spell dystopia that this stupid, vacuous vision should be forever immortalized in celluloid at the cost of tens of millions of dollars of their company's money. If nothing else, can you imagine how the general public would react if one of these murderers lives and gets to go free?

0:20:00 -- Kable's real name is John Tillman and he has a wife named Angie (Amber Valetta). Being live avatars in virtual reality games is their family business because she works in a live-action Sims type deal called Society also run by Ken Castle. The people in this allow themselves to be controlled and the controllers mostly just have them debase themselves by being injured or screwed. Take a look at Amber Valetta and guess which one her overweight-nerd-guy-controller likes to do.

Her controller was about to get her clothes off when they got interrupted by Ludacris. No, seriously, Ludacris hacked into the game network and delivered a rant about how wrong this all was. Oh, he doesn't call himself Ludacris. He's called Humanz. Which is much better. Also, newscasters say "fuck" and "cocksucker" during their broadcasts now. I fully support that. What I really want to see are old shows like Andy Griffith with their dialogue converted into dirty words. If that happens, the future will be awesome. Oh, sorry, the future will be FUCKING awesome.

0:43:00 -- As anyone who has ever seen Rollerball, The Running Man or any other movie about a futuristic deathsport, you know that there's always a point where the most skilled and popular player of the game becomes a target for the evil awful bad guys who run the game and this movie is no different. Kable is just two missions away from going free and Castle doesn't want that because Kable supposedly knows something about him. Castle even framed him for murder so he'd be locked away. Luckily, Humanz has noticed Kable's plight and got his controller, a teenager named Simon, to add a mod to the game so he and Kable can speak. Kable wants Simon to turn him loose so he can control himself during the battle. Oh, about the battle scenes. They suck. They were basically designed for people with A.D.D. who hate light and color and love it when the camera spins around and cuts away every 4 seconds. The filmmakers (co-writers and directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who also wrote Jonah Hex, a fact that explains a lot about this movie) kept cutting the battle with static and electronic glitches to emphasize the fact that this is being played like a video game even though real people are dying. If the desired artistic result was to piss me off and give me a headache then bravo. Did I leave something out? Probably, but I'm moving on anyway.

0:48:00 -- Oh yeah, I remember. Kable asked a mysterious woman who works for Humanz to get him some booze which he drank just before the start of his last battle. What happens next isn't just a "WTF" moment but more like a "No seriously, WTF? Are you shitting me?" moment when Kable finds a car that takes ethanol and vomits the vodka into the empty tank. He also pisses his now-vodka soaked urine into it for good measure and starts to drive off so he can escape, something else I forgot to mention. Something like that may have worked if it had been done by one of those equally skilled and crazy Hong Kong directors but Neveldine and Taylor...aren't that. Also, if this scene is any indication, automotive technology doesn't advance even a little bit in the next 30 years.

1:00:00 -- Even though Humanz had helped him break out of prison not 10 minutes earlier, Kable basically said, "What have you done for me lately?" when Humanz wanted Kable to join in his anti-tech revolution. He changed his mind when they said they knew where his wife, Angie, was. We see her when she's pulling her shift as a Sim and she meets another human droid calling himself Rick Rape. Rick is played by Milo Ventimiglia, best known for playing Peter Petrelli in Heroes though I'm sure he'll want this... be known as his greatest role. Rick was about to take advantage of poor Angie when Kable walks in and breaks the guy's back. All I could think then was, "Um, wasn't that guy being mind controlled? He killed the actor but the operator is alive and well," but that's never mentioned again and there's so much other stupid and amoral stuff to deal with. Like when Angie's operator keeps getting turned on by the scenes of horrific violence that break out when Castle's operatives track Kable down. Kable gets away with Angie after approximately 37000 people got shot so it was one of the movie's less violent scenes.

1:14:49 -- They were rescued by talk show host Gina Smith who, for some reason, is now on Kable's side. Humanz managed to free Angie from the game's control but that did squat because Castle managed to reacquire her as well as their daughter. Castle quite correctly figured that Kable would come to where he was holding them. This means he surrounded the place with snipers and shot him on sight BUT NO NO NO that's what a smart guy would have done in a smart movie. This was made by the Jonah Hex writers and that means Castle set up some elaborate trap that involved letting Kable, a deadly fighter who impossibly survived 30 missions in his virtual world, waltz right into his home. Don't worry though, Castle was ready for him with a musical number. Seriously, Michael C. Hall sang "I've Got You Under My Skin" with some very unfortunate choreography to match.

1:34:40 -- The best part of doing these is when I get to say YAY, THE MOVIE'S OVER. You know, I can't believe I went this far without mentioning Michael Hall's Southern accent. IMDB assures me he's from North Carolina but he sounds like he's from deep Georgia except for the parts when he sounds like he's from Minnesota. Anyway, Castle confronted Kable with a force of about two dozen mercenaries who very kindly attacked Kable one at a time, making it easy for him to kill them. I don't like to tell people their business but, if you're an evil genius bent on world domination and you happen to be reading this, may I suggest just shooting the hero who invades your fortress with the expressed purpose of stopping you? Oh yes, Castle was going to use the game technology to infect everyone with his brain probe things so the world would be under his control. Castle tells him that he found and killed Humanz and found a way to bypass the device that freed Kable from the game and Kable suddenly finds he can no longer control his own actions. Luckily, the thorough and capable Castle left one of Humanz' people alive and she and Gina used Simon, Kable's game operator, to take control of Kable and kill Castle. Kable, Angie and their daughter then leave, I assume to celebrate saving the world with a burger or something which is how I'm going to celebrate the end of this movie.

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