September 7, 2009

Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2009

Directed & Written by: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

Key Cast Members:

  • Kable/John Tillman: Gerard Buttler
  • Simon Silverton: Logan Lerman
  • Ken Castle: Michael C. Hall
  • Humanz Brother: Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges
  • Rating: 9 out of 10

    Kable and Simon

    Are you the player… or the played?

    Overview. At first glance, Gamer would seem to be about first-person shooters (FPSs) taken to new extremes… and the people who play them. Beneath all the explosions, spent bullet casings, and piles of fragged corpses, there’s a story about how one man is using nanotechnology for more than just sick entertainment. While the concept of technology to control humanity is nothing new to cyberpunk, how it is being used to that end in this movie may make you look at Quake and Unreal Tournament (and maybe The Sims series and Second Life) differently.


    The Story. Ken Castle is the mastermind behind Nanex, the nanotechnology that fuses to human neurons in the brain to effectively control it. With this level of control, one person can make a Nanex-infused human his/her personal meatbot-slave. This results in the creation of the two largest, most successful live-action MMORPGs: Society, a Sims style RPG, and Slayers, the FPS where convicted death-row inmates fight to survive thirty matches where they win their freedom.

    Kable, convicted of murder and separated from his wife and daughter, has won 26 matches already, thanks in part to his “controller” Simon. Kable has become a virtual god worshiped by the world, while Simon has become a rock star equivalent. But as Kable closes in on his 30th victory, a hacker group called the Humanz inform the duo that Kable’s appearance in Slayers is no accident as he hold information that can bring Castle’s empire down.

    Ludacris as Humanz Brother

    “This is not something you can control. It ain’t just a game, we’re all slaves.”

    Who’s playing you? The potential danger of Nanex becomes all too obvious near the end of the movie, with Castle seeking godlike status. The immediate problems can be seen as Angie (Kable’s wife) is often seen as a Society meatbot to a controller who… let’s just say that which once seen cannot be unseen.

    Kable and Castle

    Kable: “You pull all the strings around here.”
    Castle: “I think it, you do it.”

    As if to drive the point of control home, you should see the “Under My Skin” scene with Castle and some of this personal meatbots doing a little song and dance for visiting Kable, a’ la West Side Story.

    Kable and Angie

    Also worth noting: The contrast of the bright neon-and-flesh colors of Society vs. the blood-drenched gray war zones of Slayers.


    Conclusion. Some people might love watching meatbots fight for their freedom. Some might be turned away from the movie’s explosive (literally) battle scenes. But if you look past the blasts, you can see how it makes for a pretty good cyberpunk film.

    And if you don’t think meatbots are possible, you should take a quick look at this article from 2006…

    This post has been filed under Man-machine Interface, Dystopic Future Movies, 9 Star Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 – 2009, Cyberpunk Theme, Movie by Mr. Roboto.

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