Another week, another innuendo-laden trip to the cinema (you know what blokes are like) ... anyway...
Neveldine & Taylor are back already - we had the bloody good fun of Crank 2, which was an unstoppable orgy of sex, violence and crazed camerawork ... if there was ever a movie that snorted coke, Crank 2 was it.
Gamer, on the other hand, is by comparison relatively sedate. There's still oodles of crazed camerawork (especially during the opening battle scene - pay close attention for the all-too-brief "tea-bagging" gag), but the pace isn't quite as relentless.
It's nowhere near the sedate and considered pace of something like The Godfather Part II, goodness no, but it's certainly not Crank 2. It's not as fast, not as compelling, and not as out-right fun.
To be honest, they really should have upped the "gamer" aspect of it far more - that would have given it a really strong USP to play with, and situated it apart from other recent "bloodsport as entertainment in a distopian future" such as the pish remake of Death Race 2000 (known as just "Death Race").
We do get the odd gaming gag here and there, and a decent (but not deep enough) look at "Society", a perv-filled version of Second Life pretty much, but the main focus is the Call of Duty multiplayer-like "Slayers".
The plot doesn't feel as tightly pulled together as either of the Crank movies, nor is it as convincing throughout ... it's good fun, but it is ultimately lacking - I kept thinking, after having seen it in the cinema, 'if only they'd been more convicted to the videogame side of things'.
A lack of conviction to the end ... that's what Gamer feels like, as well as a movie born out of exhaustion from the Crank movies. While Crank 1 and 2 are the moment the drug hits your system, Gamer is about 10 minutes later when the buzz is beginning to fizzle out.
Michael C. Hall's billionaire bastard is typically venomous, but you feel he should have been far more outlandish - as a result, a particularly outlandish dance-off towards the end of the movie feels rather out-of-place. The 'resistance' - led by feckin' Ludacris of all people (seriously, fuck off Ludacris, you were pish in Max Payne, you were pish in this, and pish in something else I can't even remember the name of - get the hint and sod off away from the silver screen) - isn't a particularly threatening underground gang, and to cap it all off, our connection to the players themselves (such as the shiver-inducingly grotty tub-o-lard who leers around in "Society") isn't strong enough ... plus we don't get a good enough look into their side of the game, so-to-speak.
Perhaps I sound a bit down on this flick, but I guess after the sheer bloody good fun of Crank 2, I was expecting something similar from Neveldine & Taylor, or at least something with the same arrow-like commitment to an idea. Unfortunately I was let down in that respect, and was never gripped by what was on screen ... solid entertainment for a couple of hours, but only as sustaining as a couple of pints and a kebab.
I've seen many worse, but I've seen quite a few better. A "check-minus" ... could do better.