Last night I caught the very first public screening of Game, one of the two new upcoming movies from Crank directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. I really wasn’t sure what to expect going in, besides a very broad description of the concept that I had heard previously and a list of actors that were in the film. But what we got was a step up above and beyond the levels of ridiculous that Neveldine and Taylor delivered previously with Crank. The action and explosions are bigger and better, the camera angles even wilder, and story even crazier. It needs some polishing, but I had a blast watching Game.
The movie starts out with a guy named Kable, played by Gerard Butler, kicking all sorts of ass in a video game-like futuristic burnt out city. The concept, which gets explained through a very annoying talk show interview with Kyra Sedgwick as the host, is about a world where video game players control real life prisoners through some sort of nano-technology implemented into their brain. And that’s just the start – this is one of those movies where I had to suspend all disbelief in order to just enjoy whatever over-the-top insanity they threw my way. From there, the story spins wildly out of control.
In addition to this first-person shooter-like game, which is called “Slayers” and has the motto “It’s not murder, it’s slayers!”, there is another universe called “Society.” This one would be if you took the video game The Sims and made it real, gave everyone some ecstasy, and piped in funky dance music. There were more tits and ass in each of these scenes, from girls peeing in public to bikini-glad raver chics roller skating around parks that looked as colorful as the Wachowski’s Speed Racer movie. So how does this tie in? Kable’s wife is one of the real life avatars in that universe and we eventually see a hilarious scene where he heads into that world to find her.
But let’s get passed all that, because if you want action, Game has it. It had some of the most entertaining and unique actions scenes I’ve seen in a while, and that’s coming from an ex-gamer. In addition to adding in some digitalized pixilation, we could see an on-screen pop up display for Kable that looked like a cross between Tony Stark’s HUD in Iron Man and Call of Duty. I found this exhilarating to watch, because it seemed like Neveldine and Taylor finally broke the bounds of the typical action scenes I’ve seen coming out of Hollywood so often. They might even rival Michael Bay for explosions!
Eventually we discover that the game’s creator named Ken Castle, played by Michael C. Hall, has a world dominance agenda and won’t let Kable finish his 30th game and go free. Kable, who was wrongly imprisoned in the first place because he was one of the first to receive the brain implants, figures out a way to get out of the “Slayers” environment. But he’s got to get through a buff as all hell Terry Crews, Castle’s secret weapon, and find a way to get his gamer, played by Logan Lerman, to allow him to control himself. This is achieved by the intervention of a resistance group known as Humanz, lead by Ludacris. They help Kable get out and find his wife, but that doesn’t last too long.
Now you might start to understand why this needs a bit of polishing. While the action scenes were great, Game really felt a bit too long, like some unnecessary scenes out in the real world could be cut and it could be tightened down into a true non-stop action flick like Crank. The pacing also felt a bit off, slowing down near the end when other various action scenes in the beginning kept it moving rather quickly. I expect all of this to be fixed by the time this comes out next year. These kind of elements didn’t pull me out of the movie too much, but I wasn’t left feeling like it was the best action film I’d seen.
Contrary to what “Sexy Whisk” over on Ain’t it Cool News said about Game from the very same screening, most of the audience that I heard from afterward seemed to like it. There was just a handful of people who quickly finished the survey and angrily left the theater at the end. A friend that I saw there even participated in the small “focus group” Q&A afterwards and said later that most of the people in there seemed to really enjoy it, including a few of the women, which was odd because I even thought this was entirely a guys’ movie. In the end, I just wanted this movie to entertain me as well, and it certainly did.