tn_gamerLet’s say you are a feedback and distortion fetishist. Fuzz and blips, pixelation, video lines, VHS rolling from bad tracking – these things get you hard. That’s fine. We are all beautiful snowflakes. What you do in that case is you make a video of all that stuff, you hide it under your bed, you get it out when you’re lonely. What you don’t do unless you have no self control is make a feature film needlessly slathered in that shit and release it in theaters and on home video to paying audiences who want to be told a story and not just watch little flickers and shit.

More to the point, let’s say you are also a wiseass camera operator who enjoys running through explosions in a firesuit or rollerblading around holding a camcorder, but have not yet developed an interest in some of the other elements of photography such as framing or holding still. Fine! Great! That is your calling, you should rollerblade all you want. It is probly good aerobic exercise. But I have one caveat: if your plan is to incorporate that footage into an actual movie and not just an episode of JACKASS then you have a responsibility to look at the footage first and ask yourself if somebody could watch it and understand what in God’s holy name is being shown. And if the directational fraternity duo Nevildine/Taylor were being honest with themselves the answer to that question would usually be “No. No, not at all. Oh jesus, no, are you kidding me? Uh uh.” I’m thinking maybe these guys should forget about the cameras and just be stunt men. They seem more interested in carrying the camera through risky situations than actually pointing the lens of it at specific things.

mp_gamerThe CRANK movies gave me that impression too, but they took place in a 14 year old boy’s cartoon dream world and the hero had to keep his adrenaline up or he’d die, so it seemed like a conscious artistic choice, at least. But now here they are trying a more serious RUNNING MAN/DEATH RACE type sci-fi action story and they’re using the same god damn Robin-Williams-riffing-on-a-talk-show visual approach. In other words, no, CRANK was not a conscious choice, they just don’t have a clue how to film an actual movie. They got one bag of tricks, and it doesn’t close.

Like with CRANK it has a cool enough premise that I want to like it: death row inmates are controlled by videogame nerds in deadly battles, and if Gerard Butler survives one more they’ll let him go. Unfortunately they don’t do much with the premise. They barely seem to sense the fucked-upness of a kid controlling a murderer for fun. They don’t really explore at all what the kid’s life is like or even get any mileage out of the idea of some dumb kid having this power over an adult. There’s definitely no Verhoeven meat on these bones. These jokers are much more interested in a subplot about a disgustingly obese shut-in controlling Butler’s hot wife in another game. They keep coming back to it like they’re real proud of this observation that a hot chick on the internet is probly a gross fat dude, but they do nothing with it at all, no insight into why he’s doing it or anything. They come up with a concept and that’s it, that’s the end of their work. No time to take ideas anywhere, gotta rollerblade.

One example is the title. Why is it called GAMER? That’s a word that only sounds cool to a gamer, if anyone. In the movie I guess it refers to the kid who controls Gerard Butler as a video game. But why is he significant? Admittedly none of the characters are developed much at all, but clearly the avatar is the focus of this one, not the gamer. There’s no significance to the title. They just wanted to call a movie gamer because they’re gamers. Lots of movies have dumb titles, but this one is fitting because it represents the low level of thought they give to every aspect of the movie.

Okay, so it’s not a smart movie. It’s really, really, really not a smart movie. It makes DEATH RACE look like DR. STRANGELOVE. But it would get away with that if it had great action scenes. Or maybe if it had good ones. If not, I would accept acceptable ones. Instead they have inexcusably shitty ones, just a bunch of shaky camcorder looking footage (with added blips) of dudes running around shooting guns behind a warehouse somewhere. There are some sparks. I think a car flips in one part. Possibly explosions. I initially turned the movie off after about 15 or 20 minutes because I couldn’t wait for the action scene to be over and then it got into the parts between action scenes and I couldn’t decide which one I hated more. It picked up a little when I continued watching the next day, but not enough to recover.

There’s a scene in the movie where Butler gets a missile shot at him or something and then the camera feed for the pay-per-view coverage shuts down. And it shows some fan watching the fight and she yells, “What the FUCK just happened?!” And you find yourself saying, “Exactly! Exactly!” Even the characters in the movie agree that the battles are poorly filmed and edited.

Okay, I got a good example here. The end credits listed Zoe Bell. I said what? Zoe Bell was in this? Where? So I found a picture of her from the movie online, and clearly she was one of the other fighters in the game. So I went back and fast forwarded through the movie and I figured out what scene she’s in. She’s sitting right next to Butler and she introduces herself to him, but it’s in a dark room with a strobing light, so she’s hard to make out. I swear on Christ’s pacifistic nuts that when I watched it the first time I thought it was a voice speaking to him from behind the wall or through a hidden speaker or something. I really didn’t know somebody was sitting there talking to him, let alone that it was Zoe Bell. After that she’s running next to him in a battle but it’s all the handheld shit and you don’t see her face clearly. Yes, she’s a stuntwoman, but in this one she’s supposed to be an actor, you don’t try to obscure her face. You’re thinking backwards, guys.

N + T Movie Factory also make the rookie mistake – or ROBOCOP 3 mistake – of having a righteous resistance for the hero to team up with. Screen Actor’s Guild Award winner* Chris “Ludacris” Bridges has the Ice-T-in-JOHNNY-MNEMONIC role of the prophet who pirates the airwaves to make useless speeches about rebelling. I compare it to ROBOCOP 3 because that was a movie where they took a perfectly good nightmarish dystopia that speaks for itself and then ruined everything by having rebels point out just how bad it is. These ones have the usual futuristic hippie look – in the role of white girl with dreadlocks is Alison Lohman, who was so good in DRAG ME TO HELL. Here here line readings are so stiff I honestly thought she was some non-actor friend of theirs they wanted to give a bit part to.

To be fair, these rebels don’t preach as much as the ones in some other crappy sci-fi movies. More than militants or subversives they seem to be a radical exposition cell. They’re there to read long sentences of techno-gibberish to explain the sci-fi concepts of the movie. I guess if they weren’t in the movie there wouldn’t be a villainous master plan, because they’re the ones that explain what it is and then it never happens.

The best reviewed role is Michael C. Hall as the annoying billionaire creator of the game, frequent talk show guest and aspiring conqueror of humanity. I guess Hall is supposed to be good because he does a different accent than on his TV show DEXTER. Okay, fine, but his drawl and random dance scene can’t really make him into a good villain. He’s evil for no reason, doesn’t have anything else going on in his life and doesn’t even have any funny lines.

Kyra Sedgwick is also in the movie as a talk show host who gets sort of involved and doesn’t turn out to be important. I assume the casting agent pointed out to her that Joan Allen was in DEATH RACE.

Like the action scenes, the story has no build and an underwhelming climax. They don’t do anything with the concept of him being controlled by a kid. Instead the kid somehow lets him loose, so he becomes an even better fighter. The villain still can control him though so he holds a knife up to him and can’t stab. Oh wait, he tried real hard and then it worked! The end. This is an action movie where the climax is the hero and villain standing there and the hero stabs the villain.

If none of that can un-sell you on this movie, I feel it’s important to tell you that the opening scene is a montage set to Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams.” Then, a little later in the movie, there is an action scene set to the same song! I guess they got the bulk rate on music rights.

So, sorry guys, but I gotta give up on Nevildine slash Taylor. As moviemakers I realize I really hate these motherfuckers. They got a couple ideas but no talent for communicating them and no brains to put anything behind or in front of the ideas. If anything, they should write loose outlines that other writers and directors then flesh out into actual movies. Or they should be an executive producer that comes in and suggests possible gags, like the guy putting out the cigarette inside Jason Statham while he’s getting heart surgery in CRANK PART 2. It’s nothing personal, I’m sure these guys are cool to hang out with if you like playing video games and giggling about balls for hours on end, but in my opinion they are not ready to tell stories through a series of photographic images.

*2004 Best Ensemble for CRASH

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

54 Responses to “Gamer”

  1. The only nice thing to say about this movie is that that random song & dance scene comes out of nowhere and entertains on level of fuckedupness that is rarely achieved in modern cinema.

    If you find yourself with a torrent or streaming version of Gamer for some reason, before you destroy it and run far away, fast forward to the last 15 minutes and watch southern accent Dexter perform to “Under My Skin.”

  2. Trivia: Alison Lohman is the wife of Mark Neveldine.
    Got nothing else to say about this. I’m a fan of “Crank 1”, was disappointed by “Crank 2” and seriously do not care for “Gamer”.

  3. You said everything I was thinking while I watched this. I saw Crank because the premise seemed promising, but sadly the most exciting part was when I shotgunned an energy drink with my roommate in the parking lot before I went into the theater. Crank 2 took everything that was terrible about Crank and amplified it, and Gamer has cemented the fact that I will never see another movie made by these guys again. Even Terry Crews couldn’t save this one.

  4. I forgot to say that I’m really looking forward to “Jonah Hex”, which was written by Neveldine/Taylor, but directed by someone else. (The director of “Horton Hears A Who”!) Just because I wonder if their scripts work probably much better if someone else brings his perspective into it. (Hey, it worked for Tarantino! [Of course I’m talking about “From Dusk Till Dawn” & “True Romance”])

  5. I would also recommend the part where Butler guzzles a bottle of vodka so he can puke it into a car that runs on ethanol to fuel his escape.

    But I don’t know, maybe my eyeballs are getting faster, but I’m starting to get used to the modern editing style. I’m not saying it’s my preferred mode, but if it’s done with some degree of panache (which I’d argue GAMER was) then I’m through bitching about it. DEATH RACE was much worse, and its editing wasted some much more impressive stunts. (Better movie as a whole, though.)

    Even with my newfound tolerance for visual spasmodicism, though, I give GAMER a grade of “okay bordering on decent.” I still think these dudes are funny, though, so that probably helps.

  6. Michael C. Hall is actually fantastic on Dexter. He gives the most touching and heartfelt portrait of a serial killer I’ve ever seen if that makes any sense. I was hoping he would start getting more mainstream work after being in this but I guess it’s not going to work out. Kind of a shame.

  7. I think Michael C. Hall should star in the inevitable Daredevil reboot. I am really adamant about this. I’ll sign a petition if I have to.

  8. There needs to be another sci-fi action premise besides “The Running Man with convicts, possibly with cars.” Seriously, that has to be the most adapted of all King’s work. How about twenty adaptations of Cujo with convicts? Or 1408? With convicts.

  9. I got one! The Shawshank Redemption! With convicts!

  10. Michael C. Hall is really great in Dexter (“the most entertaining show on TV right now!”- Mr. Subtlety) but John Lithgow owned this past season. Bought it, brought it home, put it on his mantle, sat back in a fluffy armchair, and enjoyed owning it. That guy is fucking gold.

  11. I haven’t seen the latest season of Dexter yet(don’t have Showtime) but I can’t wait to catch it on DVD. I’m hoping Lithgow will be in Full-n Ricochet mode.

  12. Crank worked, seemed different in a good way. Crank2 seemed to be made by Cranks younger more immature brothers and Gamer seems to be the inbred ginger cousin of the family.

    Long way to say it was one of the worst movies of last year (even the random dance scene coudn’t redeem it).

    I thought the concept held promise, but too be honest it made AvP:R look like the Shawshank Redemption, what a waste…

  13. I’m sticking this here , not really having anything to do with Gamer, but I know you will all get some laughs outta it


  14. I dislike both CRANK films enough that I am going to stay far away from GAMER and probably any other movies these guys direct. However, in their defense, they wrote (but did not direct) a reasonably entertaining horror movie called PATHOLOGY. So maybe I can’t write them off entirely. It’s not a great or even noteworthy horror movie, but it’s enjoyably fucked up without going nearly as far as the CRANK movies and expertly exploited my distrust of doctors. So I guess maybe N/T are capable of passable work when they dial back on the Monster Energy Drink style screenwriting and then give their work to a director with more than a passing interest in crafting his visuals.

    Actually, to be fair, CRANK 2 wasn’t the assault on coherency and spacial relations in cinema that I thought it would be. I usually had a clear idea of what was happening, it’s just that the stuff that was happening wasn’t nearly as funny as N/T seemed to think it was. And it’s just so amped up at all times that it becomes monotonous. It’s seemingly got all this energy, but the film is just so satisfied with entertaining and energizing itself that I never felt like any of it ever transferred to me.

  15. dieselboy –thats a pretty great video, but having THEY LIVE in there is not cool. not cool at all. Also I don’t think “it’s not a tumor” counts as cheesy.

  16. I gave up on this film when I read on IMDB there was a character called “Rick Rape” in it.

  17. “I initially turned the movie off after about 15 or 20 minutes”

    I had the exact same response – it was somewhere around the first scene of Butler’s wife in her game – but I never went back to it the next day. Congratulations for making it all the way through. That’s an impressive commitment to the cause of reviewing shitty films.

    And Michael C. Hall is an excellent actor – great on Dexter, great back when he used to be on Six Feet Under. He deserves a better way to fill his time between seasons than this.

  18. “Let’s say you are a feedback and distortion fetishist. Fuzz and blips, pixelation, video lines, VHS rolling from bad tracking – these things get you hard. That’s fine. We are all beautiful snowflakes. What you do in that case is you make a video of all that stuff, you hide it under your bed, you get it out when you’re lonely”

    isn’t David Lynch really into this sort of stuff? i dunno… there’s a place for it in movies like Saw, and fucked up avant garde work and all that. and i dig pixalizatoin

  19. I mildly enjoyed Crank 1 and 2 . Yes , I hate the more offensive , juvenile parts and rape jokes , but I enjoyed Statham acting all cool and badass with a forced erection in first and the Full Body Tourette of the second . I don’t find the editing all that annoying , the guys are not the worst offenders , but Gamer was a total mess . I am particularly sick of all the technology stereotypes in movies : the hacking montage of quick cuts and typing really fast ( in real life is not like that…. do you remember Demon Dave ? There was a video of him typing really slow and with 2 fingers! I’m with him on this one.) , the fat nerds , the fact that everything cool , fun and edgy is in some way related to disco-techno music ( the energy drinks , the style in this movie the popular game ). For God’s sake , movie-people , try something new next time . Maybe , for once , change techno soundtrack with say Latin American music or Country . I hate that fucking noise.

  20. Someone help a brother out here: everything I know about Gerard Butler I learned from 300 and various talk show and paparazzi clips stitched together on TMZ, all of which conspire to make him appear like the biggest douchebag on the planet. Where do you suggest I look to witness the talent people keep insisting he has? Thanks guys.

  21. Nice video dieselboy. But I gotta take serious issue on one of the quotes. “Are you a Mexican, or a Mexican’t?” NOT cheesy. Awesome.

  22. Jareth: I definitely don’t recommend you see P.S. I LOVE YOU. Gerard Butler dies in the first 10-15 minutes and then his wife Hilary Swank receives notes from beyond the grave for the next 6 months or so. He does a thick Irish voiceover while she does things like go off to Ireland and bone his best friend. Painful. (the girlfriend didn’t like it either…)

  23. It’s funny, because – while Crank the first really isn’t a good film by any stretch, it does contain some of the duo’s most coherent action sequences, so far. The blowjob-chase sequence, and the fight in the helicopter over L.A. both stand out as pretty well-paced set pieces, within the film’s overall frenetic framing. Which is why it’s so – surprising that they can’t seem to hold anything else together for any of their other films, formally. It is a better film than the second Crank, however. That much, I feel, is certain. Then again, so is Transformers 2. And, kicking puppies.

  24. you know what, I’m gonna defend N/T based on my theory of UnCaged directing.

  25. Based on Vern’s last paragraph, I’d like to read his thoughts on PATHOLOGY, which was written by Neveldine/Taylor but directed by someone else. It’s much slicker than any of their films, and perhaps a touch more restrained. It’s also hilarious.

  26. I haven’t seen this movie. I simply want to mention that outlawvern.com has now been blocked by my employer, so I can’t read this shit at work to maintain my sanity anymore. I perused the sight during working hours for months, and now this shit. Which leads me to believe that someone was monitoring my dicking-around and purposely added Vern to the block list. This is a sad day for Gwai Lo.

  27. I’m going to go against the masses here and say that I enjoyed Gamer. It felt like a more coherent (yet still ADD) version of what they were trying to do with Crank (which I liked) and Crank 2 (which I did not). I agree with some of the points that Vern makes, but I was able to overlook them and have fun with the flick.

  28. I was really confused by this film because when you call it Gamer, gamers will go and watch it. And what do they do? Make one gamer into a spoiled asshole rich kid who maybe does something halfway important at the very end, though that’s not clear (I thought *he* pushed the knife in), and the other gamer is a slobbering grotesquely fat dude who actually masturbates to murder. Way to go for the target audience there.

    Also, we have Second Life since… when? And I’m not a second lifer, but when I watch the scenes of the simulation with the wife, all I can think is: that’s not how it would work. At first, people would throw their avatars off bridges and stuff, just to experience it. And sure there would be all kinds of crazy sex acts, but also a part where people really “act” as their avatars. And then they’d throw themselves in front of a car again because, hey, why not? At least something happens.

  29. I was lukewarm on Crank, LOVED the bejesus out of Crank: High Voltage, and was bored silly by Gamer.

  30. hey in that clip that dieselboy linked to, what’s the movie with the old lady asking “marky” mark wahlberg if he’s going to kill her? i hope it’s a comedy, wahlberg seems hilarious in it, like he’s in full-on david o. russell mode. also, zoey deschanel seems like she is doing joke delivery in that clip from THE HAPPENING (i haven’t seen it).

  31. Patrick – is that what happened? Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention by that point, or maybe it wasn’t made clear. If the kid did it that would make sense, that’s admittedly kind of cool.

  32. i thought the premise of the game didn’t make any sense in the first place. I can totally get behind the idea of a deathrace/running man type of film. But why the hell would you let the deathrow inmates be played by kids in a video game. I guess they dont experience the pain and death of their avatars, so why not play virtually to begin with. I just doesn’t make any sence. In that second life game you could argue that its about really experiencing that stuff, but i dont think those kids feel being shot in the face.

    Stupid premise and it goes downwards from there.

  33. its like that movie “push” from last year. Anyone seen it?

    The premise is that there are people wit xmen like special powers and some goverment agencie catches those people to test some substance on them to make them more powerfull. And now after 50 years or whatever the girl that first survived the experience escapes.

    But wait a minute. There are superhuman people on earth and instead of using their powers they are killing all of them in an atempt to make them more powerfull. It makes zero sense. And they tell you all that stuff in the opening narration.

    Looking up the name of the film on imdb i am shocked to see that film has a 6.0 rating. incredible

  34. Vern: admittedly, I sort of believe that is what happened because otherwise the rich kid would have no point at all, and he even gets a celebration scene where he’s shot (by the camera) like a hero.

  35. Great review, Vern. I actually had to sit through this in a cinema. I’ve only ever walked out of one movie and
    that was 21 grams, but I came awfully close with this. When it got to the scene where Gerard Butller
    is chased through a discoteque, the editing was so fast it was like the images were strobing. It actually hurt
    and I spent about 2 minutes with my eyes shut!

    Most tasteless moment – In the opening montage, which is similar to the one in The Truman Show -showing thousands of people watching a pay-per-view event on a giant screen – except the Gamer version showed thousands of people in MECCA watching one of the deathmatches on a giant screen.

    Biggest waste of talent – John Leguizamo as a fellow inmate.

  36. I watched Push. Its shit but I love how they keep changing the rules of the superpowers every 10 minutes. Hollywood should just forget it with these sci fi movies. They are all shit and need to be stopped.

    Are there no more writers working in Hollywood? Why have they been recycling the same Strange Days/Johnny Mnemonic script?

  37. rainman: thanks for the warning; I’ll steer clear of the pervy ghost movie. Has anyone ever made a film of that sort (peeping tom ghosts/angels) that was half as good as WINGS OF DESIRE? I can’t think of anything but abysmal failures.

    atzfratz: I actually like the idea that the superkids in PUSH would be hiding out, but that really doesn’t excuse how inept that particular movie is. Really, the only way that film could appear good would be if it was watched right after FANTASTIC FOUR.

  38. Virgin Gary-That movie is The Happening, it is worth watching only for the large amount of un-intentional humor.

  39. I agree ironcupshrug, when I saw that in the cinema the response was total silence bar me nervously chuckling. Was that meant to be funny? Disturbing? Threatening? I have no idea and that’s why I dug it.

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t hate Gamer, in many ways I think it’s the finest of the N+T trifecta. Still, their awful sense of humour gets in the way of any of their films being anywhere near genuinely good, even as genre fare. I mean if Gamer is anything to go by they’re still amused by a novelty hit by the Bloodhound Gang that was popular for ten minutes with 13 year olds almost a decade ago.

  40. MikeOutWest — you walked out of only one movie in your life and it was 21 GRAMS? Weird. I mean, what were you expecting?

  41. I wouldn’t be surprised if this really was Neveldine/Taylor’s Twitter account:


  42. Mr Subtlety – long story short, I’d turned up to see Amelie but got the times wrong, so rather than wait
    around for an hour or so, I decided to see something else. I’d seen Amores Perros and quite liked it so I
    thought 21 grams might be worth a shot. I lasted 20 minutes.

    Usually I make more of an informed choice when choosing what I see in the cinema. With Gamer, I’d enjoyed the trailers,
    and there was Gerrard Butler kicking ass and Michael C Hall acting weird, there were shootouts and explosions,
    but…it was all filmed in such a ADD, cack-handed manner by people who think a shaky camera equals immediacy
    Directors like Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, Dante Lam and Peter Berg know how to put the viewer into the middle
    of a shootout yet still let you understand what the hell is going on and get your adrenaline pumping as a result.

    I could make allowances for the film’s story and style choices if it had gotten the action right. The major problem with the “action” in Gamer it is the makers couldn’t be arsed to choreograph any of the action. Everything is a mosaic made up of split-second shots. And not very well made shots at that.

  43. Carlos – looks like it’s real, it’s linked from their official websight. Reading those guys’s gibberish about peeing and throwing cameras at homeless people makes you realize how important it was for the modern usage of the word “douchebag” to be developed. Nothing else quite hits it.

  44. I quite liked Crank and CrankII, although I own neither of them. However this film actually hurt my eyes, and my self-respect, by watching it in the cinema. Horrible experience watching it in a theatre full of old ladies who wanted to see Butler take his shirt off. I wonder how turned on they were by the sickening direction and offensive plot points. Regardless, it was fucking trash and just about the worst film I saw last year.

  45. I loved both Crank films but this was utter shit.

  46. I liked the Crank movies and I didn’t think Gamer was any better or worse than either of those movies. It was stupid, yes, but I was entertained.

  47. One thing about GAMER annoys me. Why must the hero have that family shit? Why can’t it just be about a guy fighting to stay alive because…well, its good to be a survivor? that and freedom is good too?

    That and DEATH RACE had the same stupid mistake.

  48. I thought Crank was ok and Crank 2 was an insane surreal masterpiece. One of the most ridiculous-awesome movies I’ve seen for a long, long time. Having said that, if they played the concept straight but still used the same filmatic techniques I could see why it would be really bad. Sounds like this is what they’ve done here, so I’ll skip this one.

  49. http://clintjcl.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/video-movies-review-gamer-2009/

    I completely disagree with everything you’ve said here. Here’s my counter point. I linked to here as “the hater’s review” ;)

  50. Well, glad somebody was able to tell what in God’s name was going on in that mess. I think it’s made only for people your age, because I didn’t understand alot of your terminology there either, and cannot even begin to comprehend the idea of Crank being somebody’s favorite action movie of all time, especially in a world where there are other action movies. So I think we got a generation gap here.

    One thing though, you really saw it as a positive that they used the same Marilyn Manson song two (2) times? I’m convinced they never watched the movie all the way through while editing and forgot they’d already used it.

    Did you see DEATH RACE? I thought that was a way better modern take on the shitty RUNNING MAN rip-off genre, although I guess it doesn’t have the same issues of technology that you were interested in.

    anyway thanks Clint. Hatefully yours,


    p.s. what is your second favorite action movie?

  51. Haha, glad to be of service. I’m a modern person into technology and politics [if you can’t tell by the non-movie portions of my blogs], so this hit home with me.

    I did not see Death Race, nor the remake. Have kind of wanted to. Like the concept. Have the original. But honestly, anything from the 70’s just lacks luster for me. Unless it’s, say, A Clockwork Orange (was my favorite movie ever for a long time) or Apocalypse Now (which I find merely decent, but much more passable than most 70s movies). I like to say that music started for me in 1978, and movies started for me in 1980. Gamer struck me as a more modern The Running Man.

    No clue on 2nd favorite action. I rate about 25% of movies 5 stars, but it’s much rarer that I rate a movie 10/10 on IMDB. (I only gave gamer an 8/8+, but I did give Crank the elusive 10%.) I mean, Crank had non stop action. Baseball batting a TV as big as mine in the first 10 seconds. Major drug influences, always a plus.

    I do give major props to the movie Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (and Oldboy too), but that is kind of a random comment, and they are more revenge than action. But it’s my favorite out of the last 400 or so that I’ve watched (about 3 yrs watching). And obviously anything with Jackie Chan is gold. But favorite? That’s hard. I’ve rated 2,000 movies on Netflix, it’s just so hard to rank things….

    Oh as for the song.. I considered the first use to be more of an “intro”. I mean, when a tv show uses the same theme as a closing theme that they use as an opening theme, it doesn’t raise my ire :)

  52. So i felt Terry Crews was a little underused in The Expendables and decided to check this out since I heard he’s the Oddjob-style henchman. And then *SPOILER* he gets easily dispatched not one but 3 times. It’s like the directors liked what happened to Taye Diggs at the end of Equilibrium and decided to sprinkle it throughout the movie.

    And why do i have visions of an Idiocracy-style future wherein Neveldine/Taylor are directing Ed Hardy Shirt: The Movie?

  53. Just Casper’d this after blaspheming the CRANKS in the DARK BACKWARDS comments and remembering I’d always wanted to revisit this one for some reason. You know we’re lucky the Crankington Brothers were so firmly in that “nothing personal bro, I just think slurs are too goddamn funny not to use” 00s tradition, as that’s probably saved lots of innocents rewatching or discovering this on the back of all the “GAMER was way ahead of its time!!!” think pieces we’d be getting if they weren’t. There’ve been a few, but I think that factor is holding us back from a tide.

    And sure, I’ll give them this, as far as I remember it wasn’t yet possible in 2009 for someone to be rich and famous exclusively for playing a single video game, and I guess the teen in this is both, it isn’t super clear, like pretty much everything else even when they’re dumping exposition. But I’ll give them that one. I suppose some people would use a line or two to suggest Scott’s super generic bad guy is basically Musk or Zuckerberg or somebody. Some have suggested that Pixie and Dixie Crank were ahead of their time in highlighting misogyny in gaming culture, and sure, if you feel confident that these guys have an obese fella put Amber Valletta in a series of hot pants to make a statement, you go for it.

    But geez, the staging on this is probably the lowest ACR grade ever. It makes TAKEN 3 look refined. The thing is I saw this on the big screen and didn’t remember it looking this bad. Maybe I just accepted that’s how action scenes were at the time? Dawn of the 10s Vern up there rightly highlights a particularly ridiculous bit where Zoe Bell cameos. But now that this movement is mercifully over (I’ve heard SNAKE EYES is a shameful relapse, but surely not on this level?) it’s actually kind of endearing to see there was a time when this was considered acceptable enough to play in theatres. It’s also pretty shocking that this had a $50million budget, although I guess Butler may have been getting decent pay days after 300.

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