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"GAMER"
(2009) (Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Extreme Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Heavy Moderate Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action: In a world where game players use real-life people as their avatars in online battles fueled by mind control, one such participant must survive the violent mayhem as he attempts to take down the system that has imprisoned him.
PLOT:
In the near future, video game players control their on-screen avatars via mind control, but their game characters are real people, thanks to the work of Ken Castle (MICHAEL C. HALL). His pioneering advances in the industry have made him a billionaire and subject of lots of press coverage, including by talk show host Gina Parker Smith (KYRA SEDGWICK) who does a story on his achievements.

First, there was Society, where everyday players control actors in a game of interacting with others. But with the high interest in violent video games, Castle created Slayers, a first-person shooter game where prisoners, such as Freak (JOHN LEGUIZAMO), have volunteered to be controlled as soldiers. If they manage to live through 30 games, they're granted their freedom, and Kable (GERARD BUTLER) is the only one who's gotten close with only a few to go.

Controlled by 17-year-old high-tech gamer Simon (LOGAN LERMAN), Kable is a seemingly non-stoppable killing machine, but unlike the others, he didn't volunteer for the post, just like four years earlier when he was used in a test that resulted in him unwillingly murdering another man. Now that he's close to getting his freedom, Castle has sent in Hackman (TERRY CREWS), a hulking killer who reportedly doesn't have the physical brain control implant and thus is a free agent of sorts whose only desire is to dispatch Kable from the game.

As the reluctant fighter tries to gain his freedom so that he can be reunited with his wife, Angie (AMBER VALLETTA) -- an actor in the Society game where she's used as a sexpot puppet -- as well as their young daughter, Delia (BRIGHID FLEMING), others are working to insure both his freedom and an end to Castle's empire. Consisting of leader Humanz Brother (LUDACRIS) and his assistants, Humanz Dude (AARON YOO) and Trace (ALISON LOHMAN), they repeatedly attempt to infiltrate Castle's network.

With Hackman intent on killing Kable and Castle counting his mounting piles of cash, Kable does what he can to survive the last few games and get revenge on those who've wrongly imprisoned him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're heavily into first-person shooter video games, action films and/or anyone in the cast, they might be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For frenetic sequences of strong brutal violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GERARD BUTLER plays a man imprisoned in both a cell and then an online, multi-player videogame where he serves as Simon's avatar, a soldier who shoots and kills many people (for real) under Simon's control. He longs to survive and/or escape from this system so that he can be reunited with his wife and young daughter, and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. He uses strong profanity and downs a bottle of liquor in one scene, but for non-intoxication reasons.
  • MICHAEL C. HALL plays the billionaire inventor of the mind control technology and online, multi-player video games that use it. Fairly deranged, his goal is to control everyone in the world, and is responsible for many deaths.
  • LOGAN LERMAN plays the 17-year-old gamer who controls Kable, not caring that he's causing his soldier to kill real people. He uses strong profanity and is something of a star from his game success with Kable.
  • LUDACRIS plays a rebel who's trying to get others to see the light regarding Castle, and works with a small team in trying to undermine his efforts. He uses profanity.
  • KYRA SEDGWICK plays a talk show host who does a segment with Castle but is completely enamored by the ruggedly handsome Kable. She uses profanity.
  • AMBER VALLETTA plays Kable's wife who's employed as a mind-controlled actor in the Society world where she's played as a sexpot by others.
  • JOHN LEGUIZAMO plays another prisoner stuck with Kable and others in a bad situation. He uses profanity.
  • TERRY CREWS plays a hulking killer introduced into the Slayers game to kill Kable, reportedly as a rogue agent with no one controlling his mind or actions.
  • AARON YOO and ALISON LOHMAN play Humanz Brother's assistants who share the same goal in trying to assist Kable in order to bring down Castle's empire.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated action film. Profanity consists of at least 42 "f" words, while many other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue and brief song lyrics are present, as is sexual activity, mostly in the form of onscreen video game characters -- who are real people -- being used in fantasy type fashion. That includes lesbian activity as well as male/female material, while nudity (bare breasts, some butts) and scantily clad women are also seen.

    Violence consists of people being killed by various means (including but not limited to lots of gunfire, explosions, being knifed, having necks broken, being pummeled to death, etc.) while various scenes show brutal fighting. Most of that is bloody and/or gory to varying degrees (sometimes a lot), and some of that material and moments of potential peril might be unsettling to some viewers.

    All sorts of potentially imitative behavior is present, as are lots of bad attitudes. Drinking occurs (including one bit of intentional intoxication), while there's brief smoking, and tense family material is present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, various scenes feature near full-strobe effects (in slatted transport cars as well as in clubs).

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, all sorts of shaky, bouncy and fluid camera movement occurs throughout the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • There's talk of boozing up the avatars in the Society game and we see some drinking.
  • We see miscellaneous drinking.
  • Kable guzzles down an entire bottle of vodka, and ends up stumbling about during a battle from that. But he's doing so not for the buzz, but instead to vomit and urinate the alcohol into the gas tank of an ethanol-fueled car. We see and hear the vomiting, while we hear the urinating (as well as his body up against the car) during that.
  • Angie has a drink in a club as do others.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Considering that much of the following is shown in quickly edited, split-second shots, this should be considered a minimum:
  • In a video game battle scene (featuring real people and deaths), Kable and other soldiers shoot other characters, all as explosions go off around them. We see some blood at the points of impact (along with blood splattering onto a face), while a pile of dead bodies is briefly seen.
  • During one of Humanz Brother's Internet feeds, there's some old, blocky computer graphics representing what he thinks of Castle, showing something going through a character's digestive system and then out of the body.
  • We see brief images of one prisoner pummeling and bashing another person's face, with very bloody results.
  • We see a flashback image to blood dripping into a puddle on the floor following a murder (the victim is seated, with his head back, resulting in that blood).
  • Two women skate into each other, falling down and somewhat bloodying themselves (arm and leg).
  • About something in the past, a commentator states, "I literally pissed myself."
  • In the next online game battle, people who've been shot and otherwise wounded or killed in battle are bloody to varying degrees (one woman's head explodes, sending blood and meat onto Kable), while we see a plow driving along, hitting various bloody body parts and such on the street.
  • We see a close-up of one prisoner frantically digging into his neck and base of his skull, trying to remove the mind control implant. That person then falls to the floor, unconscious or dead and very bloody.
  • Hackman has a large scar around his neck.
  • We see a close-up of a bloody wound on Kable's shoulder as he showers, while Hackman walks up, states he just killed someone, and proudly shows off the blood on his hands.
  • A man is bloody when he's shot and killed.
  • We see a person who's missing half of their head (vertically), with very bloody/gory results.
  • Kable guzzles down an entire bottle of vodka, and ends up stumbling about during a battle from that. But he's doing so not for the buzz, but instead to vomit and urinate the alcohol into the gas tank of an ethanol-fueled car. We see and hear the vomiting, while we hear the urinating (as well as his body up against the car) during that.
  • During another battle, Kable fires some sort of futuristic weapon that fires ammo up into the air. It then splits and comes down in multiple streams, causing explosions that send body parts flying up into the air.
  • Hackman stabs a knife into a woman (who's making out with a guy), wipes the blood off on that man, and then grabs his neck and breaks it, killing him.
  • Kable repeatedly hits Hackman, bloodying him, while shooting others.
  • We see photos of bloody/gory body parts.
  • We see a close-up of a needle going into skin, followed by some blood filling a vial.
  • In a flashback, a fellow soldier tells Kable of all that's being done to or for him in a facility, including "wiping my ass."
  • In a flashback, and while under the mind control of someone else, Kable shoots a fellow soldier with a handgun, killing him (with bloody results on the floor).
  • Kable manages to slice Castle several times on the belly, leaving some bloody slices.
  • A man who's been stabbed has blood on his shirt and hands, while we then see a pool of blood on the floor by him.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Castle has created a simulated game world where people control other people (via mind control) to play out fantasies and/or engage in killing others (where people really do die).
  • Simon treats Kable as just a video game character and doesn't care that through him he's actually killing real people.
  • A man states that nobody cares about dead "Orientals."
  • Gina's boss tells her "Stop menstruating" (presumably meant as "stop behaving like a complaining woman").
  • Freak uses the term "n*ggers" to refer to others in general (not African-Americans in particular).
  • About various choices he has to watch and/or interact with on his many Internet screens, Simon nonchalantly comments on each of them being "gay."
  • Hackman is solely intent on killing Kable.
  • A miscellaneous young woman refers to someone else as a "sick retard."
  • Hackman refers to Kable's wife and daughter as his two "whores."
  • Humanz Brother refers to Simon as a "poor little rich honkey."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material (but everything is played in such a non-realistic, video game fashion that most of the suspense is muted if not completely removed).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Handguns/Shotguns/Various Explosives/Flamethrowers/Knives/Futuristic weapons: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Who the f*ck cares?" "We f*cking have it," "This m*therf*cker is off the charts," "F*ck 'em up," "Get the f*ck down," "That sh*t was f*cked up," "F*ck yeah," "What the f*ck /are they/just happened?" "Star f*cker," "Why don't you shut the f*ck up?" "F*ck you say?" "It's f*cking unbelievable," "I'm a badass m*therf*cker," "F*cker," "Are you f*cking kidding me?" "F*ck-face," "F*ck no," "Where the f*ck do we go?" "F*ck that," "Oh sh*t," "Never say sh*t," "Some crazy sh*t like that," "No sh*t," "That's bullsh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Pretty hot sh*t," "We need that sh*t," "We are c*nt hair close," "C*ck-solid," "C*ck-s*cker," "Whores," "If you don't pull your balls together," "That's not a bad G*ddamn deal," "How the hell does it work?" "What the hell /is that?" "That's a G*ddman hoot," "N*ggers" (not directly meant as African-Americans), "I literally pissed myself," "(You) suck," "Shut up, bitch," "What's up, loser?" "Sick retard," "That's tripped out," "Dude," "Bastard," "The freedom to ass kick," "Poor little rich honkey," "A total asshole," "That's just gross, bro," "You're screwing my ass" (nonsexual), "Look at me, bitch" and "Excuse me, media whore."
  • All of the fighting, stunts and other action might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Various characters have tattoos and/or body/facial piercings (seen in various scenes).
  • Kable has a phrase tattooed on his arm.
  • About various choices he has to watch and/or interact with on his many Internet screens, Simon nonchalantly comments on each of them being "gay."
  • At several points in the film, young women lift their shirts and flash their bare breasts, while we also briefly see someone mooning others.
  • Kable hotwires a car to escape.
  • We see some people strung up by their own pierced skin in a club of some sort (in a masochistic fashion).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of heavily dramatic, suspenseful and some ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • The song "Ain't Nothing But Mammals" includes sexual lyrics such as "So put your hands down my pants and I bet you'll feel nuts," "Yes I'm Sisco, Yes I'm Ebert and you're getting two thumbs up" and "You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals. So let's do it like they do on the discover channel."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 42 "f" words (3 used with "mother," 1 used sexually, a few written), 20 "s" words, 2 slang terms using male genitals ("c*ck," "c*cks*cker," 2 using female ones ("c*nt," "p*ssy"), 1 for breasts ("t*ts"), 9 hells, 7 asses (1 used with "hole"), 3 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 4 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Considering that much of the following is shown in quickly edited, split-second shots, this should be considered a minimum:
  • A man refers to a nonsexual objective as being "c*nt hair close."
  • Gina shows cleavage.
  • In the simulated Society game (where real people are controlled like video game characters by others), a woman flashes her bare breasts, while we also see someone mooning others (bare butt), and a male avatar's name includes "vagina" in it.
  • Some avatar character names are noted as "MyBallsHurt" and "Booty Shaker."
  • Following their interview, Castle comes on to Gina, suggestively asking what if he breaches her "firewall" one of these days.
  • We see a rear view of a female avatar in very small/tight shorts as she skates along, and then that of another in a thong bottom.
  • The song "Ain't Nothing But Mammals" includes sexual lyrics such as "So put your hands down my pants and I bet you'll feel nuts," "Yes I'm Sisco, Yes I'm Ebert and you're getting two thumbs up" and "You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals. So let's do it like they do on the discover channel."
  • We see two female avatars making out (bare breasts are viewed).
  • In the simulated role playing world, we see a man's hands on a woman's clothed breasts and then down to her crotch in her small shorts (seen in close-up).
  • We see quick clips on video screen inserts of young women on Simon's Internet "wall," including one showing bare breasts and another with lesbian kissing and kissing/licking of breasts. One woman complains that if Simon kills her boyfriend's character that will prevent him from filling her with his hot seed. Another refers to a previous one as a "star f*cker," and two women ask Simon if he wants to see their "t*ts." He does and thus they lift their shirts and flash their breasts to him.
  • We see Kable and Hackman shirtless in the locker room.
  • A woman lifts her shirt and flashes her breasts, but they appear to be plastic, covered in plastic, or something similar.
  • Humanz Brother informs Simon that once Kable is gone (along with the fame of controlling him), there won't be any more "p*ssy" for Simon.
  • We see various quick views of Angie in various revealing, skimpy and/or sexy outfits as a shirtless, obese man chooses how she'll look for his next online game venture (she's his avatar).
  • We briefly see bare breasts in a club of some sort, while a man is behind a woman and is either humping her clothed or having sex, but we don't see contact in that area on their bodies.
  • We see a man coming on to Angie (as the shirtless, obese man's avatar), including humping her side in an elevator (clothed). He then slaps her clothed butt in her small shorts, and we then see her suggestively crawling away from him on her hands and knees, thus exposing her butt (in those small shorts) to him. He has his hand down inside his pants as he approaches her, but Kable is suddenly there, grabs the man, and breaks his back over his knee. Still under the control of the remote obese man, Angie then caresses Kable's clothed crotch (not realizing it's her husband).
  • We see a miscellaneous couple making out in an elevator, and the shirtless obese man who's controlling Angie caresses his own skin in a sexual manner when apparently excited by having his avatar watch Hackman about to kill that couple.
  • We see bare breasts in a club while hearing what sound like sexual sounds coming from somewhere in there.
  • At various points in the film, miscellaneous men are seen shirtless.
  • We see a photo of Simon groping some bare breasts.
  • Thinking he's seeing his daughter, Kable rushes toward her, only to run into what's just a video wall. Having seen that, Castle then asks if he can imagine porn on that thing.
  • Castle states his goal of controlling everyone, from ditch diggers and porn stars to presidents.
  • Castle removes his shirt to battle Kable.
  • SMOKING
  • A miscellaneous woman smokes in one scene.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Kable's goal is to be reunited with his wife and daughter who've been taken away from him and that drives his motivation throughout the film.
  • Angie applies to get her daughter back from the authorities, but the official says that's unlikely, thus causing Angie distress.
  • Castle uses his mind control to try to make Kable kill his daughter with a knife (in front of Angie), but Kable (with the help of others controlling his mind) stops and drives the knife into the floor.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The film's view of the progression of video games.
  • The notion of Castle's use of prisoners in his online gaming system to earn revenue that then pays for the prison system.
  • Castle defending his use of real people in his gaming system, saying how nice it is for them not having to make any choices for themselves and thus having no responsibilities.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Considering that much of the following is shown in quickly edited, split-second shots, this should be considered a minimum:
  • In a video game battle scene (featuring real people and deaths), Kable and other soldiers shoot other characters, all as explosions go off around them. We see some blood at the points of impact (along with blood splattering onto a face), while a pile of dead bodies is briefly seen. As this continues, Kable hits one character with his gun before using the same to shoot others, while an explosion blows him out a window and he lands hard on a vehicle below him.
  • We see brief images of one prisoner pummeling and bashing another person's face, with very bloody results. That attacker then flees, only to be shot with something that blows him up into the air.
  • Two women skate into each other, falling down and somewhat bloodying themselves (arm and leg).
  • A guard hits a female prisoner in the face.
  • In the next online game battle, there's gunfire and explosions, including from a chopper shooting missiles that explode. Various people who are shot are bloody, while a vehicle flies through the air in slow motion, on fire and twisting before crashing, while a flamethrower is used to attack several characters who are then engulfed in flames, with one falling hard to the street. A truck suddenly flies by and smashes a woman, while another's head explodes, sending blood and meat onto Kable.
  • We see brief flashback images of Kable shooting another seated man in the head.
  • We see a close-up of one prisoner frantically digging into his neck and base of his skull, trying to remove the mind control implant. That person then falls to the floor, unconscious or dead and very bloody.
  • We see a close-up of a bloody wound on Kable's shoulder as he showers, while Hackman walks up, states he just killed someone, and proudly shows off the blood on his hands.
  • In the next online game battle, there's more shooting and explosions, while a flamethrower hits a guy on his motorcycle, while Freak is shot and killed.
  • Hackman hits Kable several times with a pipe or something similar and stands above him, prepared to kill him. But his bullet just drops from his gun rather than fires, allowing Kable to kick him (on or near his crotch) and then hit him several times with that pipe.
  • During another battle, Kable fires some sort of futuristic weapon that fires ammo up into the air. It then splits and comes down in multiple streams, causing explosions that send body parts flying up into the air.
  • After Kable hotwires a car to escape, others shoot machine guns at him, with one opponent hanging onto his car at the driver's side door. Kable then sideswipes another vehicle before doing the same to a pillar that smashes that other guy off the side of the car. A plow then hits his car in passing, followed by it and another plow chasing after him, smashing through various vehicles and such during the chase. Kable then ends up shooting into one plow, causing it to flip over and another to crash into and then flip over that one. While still going in reverse, Kable crashes through stuff hard, while a fired missile then lands near him, blowing him aside.
  • Finding a man about to have sex with Angie (as a mind-controlled avatar), Kable picks up that man and slams him down over his knee, breaking his back.
  • Hackman blasts Kable backwards with a shotgun blast (through some glass, but Kable is okay due to the body armor he's wearing).
  • Hackman stabs a knife into a woman (who's making out with a guy), wipes the blood off on that man, and then grabs his neck and breaks it, killing him.
  • Kable repeatedly hits Hackman, bloodying him, while shooting others.
  • In a flashback, and while under the mind control of someone else, Kable shoots a fellow soldier with a handgun, killing him (with bloody results on the floor).
  • Thinking he's seeing his daughter, Kable rushes toward her, only to run into what's just a video wall.
  • We see brief flashback views of some characters being shot and killed.
  • Kable fights many men who are mind-controlled by Castle, with various brutal blows, limb snapping and neck breaking (by twisting as well as slamming one down to the floor head-first).
  • Hackman comes at Kable with a knife, but Kable delivers many hard blows before twisting his neck twice, the last time breaking it and killing him.
  • Kable comes at Castle with a knife, but the latter's mind control stops him and causes Kable to cut his own leg.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Using mind control to keep Kable restrained enough to battle him, Castle delivers various blows to his face and body, but Kable manages to slice Castle several times on the belly, leaving some bloody slices. Castle then uses his mind control to try to make Kable kill his daughter with that knife, but Kable (with the help of others controlling his mind) stops and drives the knife into the floor. He then grabs Castle by the throat and nearly stabs him, but Castle stops him just short of that and head-butts him. But Kable then drives that knife into Castle, killing him (with bloody results).



  • Reviewed September 4, 2009 / Posted September 4, 2009

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