In a near-future New York, mind-control technology has taken the world by storm. Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) has revolutionized the gaming industry with his invention of self-replicating nanites. The nanites colonize in the brain, gradually replacing the existing brain cells and allowing full control of all motor functions by a third party. The first major application of this technology allows gamers to control a real person in a pseudo community (much like current simulated worlds such as Second Life but with far more telepresence). Those who work as characters in Society are paid for their participation, unlike Castle’s latest creation, Slayers, a multiplayer, third-person shooter game. Slayers allows gamers to control death row prisoners in mass-scale death matches. Any inmate who lives through 30 matches wins a full pardon. Due to Society and Slayers popularity Ken Castle has become the richest man in the world. Simon, a 17-year old gamer (Logan Lerman) has control over Kable (Gerard Butler), the most recognizable face in Slayers due to him surviving 27 matches, far more than any other participant.

While Castle is interviewed on a talk show, an activist organization called Humanz hijacks the broadcast and claims that Castle will eventually use the nanite technology to control more people against their will. They form a plot to free Kable and reveal the true capacity of the nanite technology. Simon is offered the ability to speak to Kable in game via a Humanz mod and is later brought on board with the Humanz plan. After a stranger gives Kable a warning in his prison cell that the game’s mastermind plans to kill him, Kable asks Simon to relinquish control over him in the 30th match. He uses this opportunity to escape and successfully drives out of the deathmatch arena while news outlets report that he has been killed in order to cover up his escape.

Kable is taken to the Humanz leader (Ludacris) who explains that the mind control technology used on Kable and the other Slayers can potentially be used without discretion on anyone, leading to the extinction of independent thought. He also gives Kable directions to where he can break his wife out of Society, where she has been working as an avatar since his incarceration. Kable arrives and after a violent confrontation with security he manages to escape with his wife. He returns to the Humanz base where the rebels attempt to deactivate the nanite cells from his wife’s mind. Kable reveals to the Humanz leader that he was once a soldier and part of a program designed to replace the cells in the brain with new longer lasting ones, prolonging good mental health and life. His friend was the first to receive the cell transplant. Castle, the creator of this technology, decided to discover the true ability of the nanites and forced Kable to kill his friend, leading to his conviction for first-degree murder and subsequent death row sentence. The Humanz inform Kable that his daughter was placed in foster care with Castle.

Kable infiltrates Castle’s mansion and is confronted by Castle. He sends his guards to kill Kable, whom he defeats. Castle leads Kable to a room with a large basketball court. Castle reveals that his brain is 98% artificial nanites and that his are of the controlling variety while everyone else, including Kable and his wife, has the receiving (controllable) type. Castle then demonstrates this by beating Kable savagely while restricting him from fighting. Kable’s wife and daughter are brought out after it is revealed that most of the Humanz fighters have been found and killed. Castle then forces Kable to crawl to his family and attempts to force him to kill his own daughter. After a brief struggle of wills Kable manages to stop himself. The last two members of the Humanz manage to broadcast this confrontation and then bring Simon in control of Kable with the control hardware he used to play Slayers with. He interferes with Castle’s control and allows Kable to move towards him. Kable then persuades Castle to think about stabbing himself which allows Kable to stab him. After Castle dies, Kable requests for Castle’s technicians, who have been watching, to release him and his family from their control. They release them and depart, while walking uncaringly past Castle’s dead body. Sometime later, Kable is driving with his daughter and wife in the car down a scenic country road.


 I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination. The most I do is a daily dose of Madden or NCAA football. When it comes to playing regular games, I usually do those when I can actually devote the time to them. REcently, I just finished God of War. Excellent game, between but none of these instances are anywhere near the kind of  gaming experiencer you would experience in Gamer. That is something more akin to The Sims or World of Warcraft.

This film tackles a topic that we should all be wary of, especially with our society depending more and more on technology. True, nothing like this exists today, to my knowledge, but if its popped up in a movie, then it isn’t far of. I read an article the other day that traced many of our modern conveniences back to the the original Star Trek TV series. Can you imagine, though, if the government could implant us all with these chips and more or less tell us what to do, or what traits to have/not have when we were born? Talk about lack of originality!

The good…action…there’s lots of it, mostly with gunplay. chances are the audience for this film is watching it for that reason. Nothing against Gerard Butler, but it is good to see him back in an action flick. I was starting to think he’ gone soft doing all those romantic comedies. Michael C. Hall surprises as this eveil bill Gates-esque character who created these two games that are all the rage. There is this big guy that is in control of Butler’s wife in the Society game, and it is just a perfect stereotype.

The bad…I thought maybe they had come up with an original story for this, but it turns out they just mutated the Death Race plot. what I mean by that is that the stories are very similar, but they have subtle differences to make them different enough. WE never get a proper introduction to the wife, and just have to assume who she is. The whole Humanz angle and the introduction of the player seemed kind of takced on, kind of like they’re more if a subplot. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’d think they would’ve at least hidden that fact that’s what they were.

For those of us that have spent hours in front of a screen playing one game or another, this is a must see. Gamer covers everything from tugging at the heartstrings to the technical aspects of some high tech evil plot, to shoot-em up type action. What more do you want?

4 out of 5 stars


3 Responses to “Gamer”

  1. […] since we last saw Gerard Butler kicking ass and taking names? I can’t recall exactly, but Gamer comes t mind. Everything else since then has been romantic comedies or dramas that somehow get […]

  2. […] action films I’ve seen him in, he seems to be a perfect fit (this includes the much reviled Gamer). However, I think this was the last action film he did before he went to rom-coms. I’m not […]

  3. […] to watch. If you’re a Gerard Butler fan, you can see him in an actual video game in his film Gamer. As for everyone else, it would be better to keep the memory of the first film and forget this one […]

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