A Review of Gamer

Azeiza Hamza
4 min readSep 6, 2021

I watched the 2009 movie Gamer and I didn’t really like it.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

I’ll be honest, I only chose this one from the list because I saw it had Logan Lerman. I’ll eventually get to what I did like, but I’m going to start with what I didn’t because there’s a lot.

The opening was a lot, from the loud music to the noisy and constant gunshots, to the flashes of light that came from the violence. I also didn’t like how the movie was filmed. I felt like the camera moved too much and there were strange editing choices. In addition, the pacing of the movie was weird, it moved very fast at times and then super slow that I felt like the movie was longer than it actually was.

The language used in the film also made me dislike it. I know the movie came out in 2009, but I feel like the use of slurs was unnecessary. Maybe it was that way to emulate how some gamers will use slurs when they play, but I feel like the movie could have gone without it. I mentioned the flashes of light and let me just say, I don’t have a light sensitivity but my eyes hurt watching this film.

Let me emphasize, there was so. Much. Flashing. Lights. I don’t know whose decision it was to include all that flashing imagery and lights, but it was a bad one.

As for the villain, Ken Castle, he was interesting. He didn’t act like someone who’d be smart enough to build this technology and gaming empire. Or at least, that’s what I thought when he was at the table talking at the start of the movie. He also acted like a psychopath or at least a narcissist. His whole, wanting to mind control everyone and take over the world thing, was cliche but I let it slide.

As for the actual movie content, I could definitely see the government doing something like this. Not only to generate revenue by having the people pay to play or watch but also because the prison system is messed up and corrupt. So the thought of them using prisoners as “slayers” for entertainment under the guise of rehabilitation isn’t that far off.

I also had a lot of questions when watching, most of which I feel like should have been answered earlier in the film and in an easier way.

Was Kable, the main character's name, a reference to cable internet or tv? Was Simon just a really good player or was Kable good at survival? Do the players, not only of the game but of the society, have control over EVERY aspect of the person? It also would have been nice if they mentioned how they made sure players didn’t take advantage of the “actors” or “slayers” unless they were allowed to do whatever they want.

The actual battle part of the movie also confused me. Are the people they’re fighting real enemies? Are they also prisoners? Are they also being controlled?

I also wondered if using prisoners as icons only happened in the U.S. I wouldn’t be surprised considering how this country is. The movie did show people from other countries watching, but it didn’t say whether they also play.

The movie was so chaotic at times, it felt like two different movies. One movie about Kable being a soldier and trying to get back to his wife and daughter. And a different movie about a resistance group trying to stop a man from mind-controlling everyone, nanites, and the dangers of gaming or something.

I’m going to be honest, there were twenty minutes left of the movie and I still didn’t entirely understand why Castle hated Kabel so much and what Kable did to warrant this hatred. I looked it up to clarify and Kabel was experimented on with the original nanites. But that still didn’t explain to me why Castle thought he was a threat.

As for what I liked, there were a few things. I found Castle adopting Kable’s daughter hilarious. As if he didn’t ruin his life enough, he also felt the need to adopt his daughter. Even though it was out of place, I did like the little song and dance number that Castle and his minions did. It was an interesting choice to add to this otherwise serious movie.

I also liked how many recognizable actors there were. It made watching more fun. For example, two actors from a tv show I like were news anchors.
I almost thought he wouldn’t defeat Castle considering how much time was left and how the plot was going but then he did. It was almost a lackluster takedown but I’m not angry at it. I’m not surprised the movie didn’t do well at the box office.

Overall, it was an ok movie but I wouldn’t rewatch it or recommend it to anyone. I think if there was a rework of the script and different editing choices, it would have the potential to be a great movie.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash