"Gamer" movie reinforces the idea that MMO's are the root of all evil

Category: Gamer News | Posted by: maryp
Article Date: May 20, 2009 | Publication: Examiner.com | Author: Neilie Johnson
Publication/Article Link:Examiner.com

Like the man said, "This has all happened before and it will all happen again". Over the years filmmakers have enjoyed envisioning sadistic, police-state-style doings resulting from the public's fascination with electronic entertainment and this year's incarnation of digitally-induced apocalypse involves massively multiplayer online games. This September, “300” star Gerard Butler will be going head to head with Michael C. Hall (TV's favorite serial killer, “Dexter”) in a video-game-based struggle between man and MMO in the new action thriller imaginatively titled, “Gamer”.

Reminiscent of 1987's “The Running Man”, Gamer is set in a grim near future where death row convicts are made to participate in a life-size online shooter as avatars controlled by various players. Convicts who survive thirty consecutive battles win their freedom, although naturally, before Gerard Butler steps into the arena, no one has managed to do so.

I want to see this movie in spite of myself because in it Michael C. Hall gets to channel a character even more twisted than TV's Dexter. As billionaire inventor/recluse Ken Castle, Hall plays a guy who has come up with a particularly brutal use for those pesky, tax-dollar-sucking inmates. In a game concept called “Slayers”, MMO players live out their bloodiest battle fantasies by directing the movements of real human combatants. Gerard Butler plays Kable, a societally wronged anti-hero, fighting to regain the life the System has stolen from him. (Which sad to say, mostly entails running around sweaty and screaming, remote-controlled by some pimply adolescent.)

Also starring rapper Ludacris and actor/comedian John Leguizamo, Gamer is brought to us by Lakeshore Entertainment who also did “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” and the remake of the 1980 film “Fame” (the latter of which falls firmly in the "wtf?" category). In an interesting bit of trivia, Gamer was filmed near my home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which due to the emergence of a new movie studio and the state's *generous contributions to film production, is lately being called “Tamalewood”.
With few exceptions, turning games into movies has been proven to be a bad idea (Super Mario Bros. anyone?) so expectations for Gamer can't be too high. Even so, it'll be interesting this Fall, to check out Lakeshore's cinematic take on MMO's, not to mention the chemistry between Butler and Hall.

*The state offers a 25% rebate within 45-60 days in addition to a four-year interest-free loan on productions with a budget of at least $1 million.