Moments of Brilliance: Gamer

This first installment in what should be many, Moments of Brilliance will look at small slivers of entertainment that stand above the rest of the work it’s associated with.

Gamer has two good things going for it: the general concept and its dance/fight scene with antagonist Michael C. Hall.

Gamer is Running Man meets Surrogates meets Death Race (a remade movie that Kyra Sedgwick also stars in). Years ago in the near future, a charismatic tech baron (Michael C. Hall) creates a Second Life-type role-playing experience where users can pay to jack into humans who give up their bodies to become avatars. So there’s a designated playground where real people whore their bodies out to fat slobs to roleplay sex. Pretty much nothing but sex.

The social phenomenon, dubbed “Society”, then evolves into a second product: “Slayers”. Convicts are controlled in war games by youths from the comfort of their couches. It’s a hit the way the way professional Starcraft 2 players hope people will someday treat their sport. Gerald Butler portrays a convict with only a few wins left to go from the number that will give himself amnesty and allow him to be with his wife (currently a body for Society). But the game’s rigged and Gerard and his user must fight back against the tyrannical Hall.

That leads to this inspired moment: Michael C. Hall’s nanite technology gives him puppetmastery over a squad of convict-contestants. He mocks Gerald Buter with an ad-libbed cover of Sinatra’s I Got You Under My Skin and some rather unsettling choreography. The scene is stylistic, memorable, and it makes Hall’s Castle a rather fun villain to watch. At this point, I was rooting for the bad guys.

Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” at least took the idea of meat soldiers and ran with it. Gamer doesn’t go father than adding “z”‘s to Web 2.0 terms.

Chad Quandt is Analogy Editor for Nonstop Karate.

As always, you can submit suggestions for features (and get credit and love) at


About Chad Quandt

Writer for videogames, animation, the webcomic Suffrage. Master blocker in dodgeball. Barbecued with Corey Haim before he died.

Posted on December 29, 2010, in Chad Quandt, Moments of Brilliance, Movies, Videogames and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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