Studio: Lionsgate
Year: 2009
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Run time: 95 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 7.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD50
Region: A

Gerard Butler stars as Kable, condemned criminal and globally famous super-soldier in the ultimate multiplayer game, “Slayers.” Human controllers direct each thought and move of real-life prison inmates battling in hyper-intense environments – where the goal is freedom and the penalty is death. But when Kable suddenly decides he wants out, his rebellion threatens the twisted plans of game creator Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall, TV’s “Dexter”), who will stop at nothing to crush the renegade commando in this taut, adrenaline-packed action-thriller.

With Crank and Crank: High Voltage having cemented Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor as commentators on the modern obsession with all things pop-culture, they put forth another film which drives the point home. The basic premise of people killing other people for entertainment takes its cue from many films (and eras) which came before. Whether you go backward in time to Spartacus and Gladiator or into the oft-dystopian futures in films like The Running Man or Battle Royale, the films which use the theme rarely are able to strike a new message out of that plotpoint. The very obvious truth that we as a society have commoditized human life and violence as a form of entertainment has been the subject of many human rights debates and sociology studies. Neveldine and Taylor may not have blazed a new trail in film allegory, but with Gamer they’ve updated a very common one to fit with today’s live-by-avatar culture, polishing it with a glossy sheen of sexuality and eye candy.

His name wasn’t always Kable. Before being imprisoned in a penal system where inmates are used as characters in a first-person shooter, Kable (Gerard Butler) had a job with an emerging tech conglomerate, a wife and a daughter. Since the technology allowing people to control other people like video game avatars came online, its inventor Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) became the richest man in the world and used the system to implement two forms of entertainment. First was the ability for gamers to control a convict in armed combat (the situation Kable finds himself in). The second version was a living copy of The Sims, humans controlling other humans from the comfort of their couch – using them to do anything their heart desires. As Castle seems to grow in power, a television host (Kyra Sedgwick), Kable, and an activist group called the Humanz (Ludacris, Aaron Yoo) attempt to discover the secret Castle has worked so hard to conceal. In order to get Kable back into the outside world, the Humanz contact his celebrated player (the guy who controls him in the game), Simon (Logan Lerman), and give him the means to make contact with Kable, something a player has never been allowed to do.

The credibility of the story requires that you pay as little attention as possible to the characters as they attempt to educate you on exactly how it is one human is able to so thoroughly control another. The basic explanation is that nano-technology inserted into your bloodstream binds with a certain area of your brain granting access to the paying customer at certain times. Furthermore, small, situation-convenient factors like genetic-specificity for every person’s nanobots attempt to prolong a bit of the film’s drama so the inevitable conclusion doesn’t come within the film’s first 30 minutes. It never really answers the question of why the villain doesn’t just assume control of everyone and lead them against the main character or why there’s a musical number (fun, though it may be).
Movie Content: 4/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vivid and rich throughout the entire presentation. Fleshtones are natural without any digital work. Blacks also have an inky look to them. Details are exceptional showcasing what a great print that Lionsgate has put together. There is some grain throughout the film, which isn’t distracting at all.
Video Quality: 9.5/10

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 7.1 mix. This is a very immersive soundtrack during the action sequences. This is a film where there are a lot of action and chase sequences. Those looking for an audio mix that will take advantage of your equipment, this is the film for you. This is a very well done audio presentation that has dynamic range with the sound effects and a lot of panning from speaker to speaker. Dialogue is clean and crisp through the center channel.
Audio Quality: 9.5/5

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, Amber Valletta, Alison Lohman, and Terry Crews.
    Inside the Game: Controlling ‘Gamer’ [HD]
  • First Person Shooter: The Evolution of Red [HD]
  • Unseen Trailer [HD]
  • ICon Mode
  • Cheat Codes
  • D-Box
  • Bookmarks
  • LG-Live
  • Ticker/Gadgets
  • Trailers
  • Digital Copy

Special Features: 7/10

Final Thoughts

I was not a big fan of ‘Gamer’ and thought the concept of the film was rather ridiculous. Especially what aggravates me more about this film is that both Hall and Butler are wasted in this film. Video and audio are excellent on Blu-ray as Lionsgate delivers another stellar presentation. I recommend a rental first before considering a purchase.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10