The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Kyra Sedgwick, Chris Bridges, Amber Valletta, Logan Lerman, Terry Crews, Keith David, Alison Lohman, John Leguizamo
Directed by: Neveldine/Taylor
Music by: Robert Williamson
Written by: Neveldine/Taylor
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 7, 2013
Gerard Butler stars as Kable, condemned criminal and globally famous super-soldier in the ultimate multiplayer game, Slayers. Human controllers direct each thought and move of real-life prison inmates battling in hyper-intense environments - where the goal is freedom and the penalty is death. But when Kable suddenly decides he wants out, his rebellion threatens the twisted plans of game creator Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall, TV's Dexter) who will stop at nothing to crush the renegade commando in this taut, adrenaline-packed action-thriller.
The advent of Reality TV introduced a number of films derived from the medium, most with futuristic spins revolving around life/death game based scenarios. 2009’s Gamer came on the heels of 2008’s Death Race and similarly used prison inmates playing for a shot a freedom should they be able to last X number of rounds in a violent arena. Gamer incorporates elements of interactive games, such as SIMS, along with first person shooter action, wherein the inmates movements within the arena, are controlled by humans via an at home interface.
Co-writers/co-director’s Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor (from CRANK fame) eschew character/story development in favor of a surface level dystopian narrative, stylized visuals and ostentatious violence. This isn’t high brow filmmaking, nor is it meant to be but the frenetic story and over abundance of frivolous characters detract from the primary focus. Despite its obvious shortcomings I must admit to finding something viscerally alluring about Gamer. It’s flashy, oddly didactic, a little sexy, and viewed strictly as a popcorn flick, entertaining.
It has a surprisingly decent cast, featuring Gerard Butler’s growlingly typical lead along with Kyra Sedgwick, Amber Valletta (speaking of sexy), and Michael C. Hall who I don’t find particularly appealing in the villainous role of Castle. The remaining supporting players, including cameos by Keith David (whose only scene is one of the film’s best), and John Leguizamo are fine and don’t necessarily add or detract from the proceedings. So while I can’t praise Gamer as an especially noteworthy film it has been a part of my Blu-ray collection for a few years now. It’s a bit of a mess but I find it perfect for scratching the occasional itch for sum over substance mindless entertainment.
The rating is for frenetic sequences of strong brutal violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
3D Presentation: 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Depth (Onscreen):
- Dimension (Beyond the screen):
- Color reproduction:
Gamer 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate HE featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.6 Mbps.
This film wasn’t shot natively in 3D but was converted in post production. The original Blu-ray releases 1.85:1 aspect has been opened to 1.78:1 here but I saw no ill effects as a result. The film was largely shot against green screens and the reproduction of the digital effects and wide angle background elements is quite good. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by separation of objects and/or people layered in the foreground/background which creates a discerning sense of virtual space. Dimensionality and apparent resolution is rarely questionable in close ups and brightly lit exterior sequences but it varies some in the limited lighting that comprises much of the film. There is a distinct lack of 3D effects that transcend the boundaries of the screen which makes for a somewhat less involving experience especially for an action oriented film of this type. I didn’t notice any overt instances of crosstalk or other video related anomalies. The end result is an unremarkable 3D video presentation that doesn’t add or take anything away from the enjoyment of the film.
The 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is a powerful mix that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the action based sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and resolute clarity. This is an aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already strong dynamics. The result is that all points of contact seem to resonate with tactile low bass impact. The quality of the bass is first rate as it is fills the room with clean, hard hitting, and deep resonating low frequency energy. Dialogue has excellent soundstage presence with clear, defining vocal character and discerning room penetration. This is a reference quality audio presentation that offers demonstration worthy material for those who like to show of their home theater systems.
2D Video Quality:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Gamer comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps.
This is stylized video presentation that makes use of darker color schemes and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers strive for to drive the story’s components. Its predominantly sepia toned aesthetic is broken up by splashes of vivid primary colors, crimson, and warm golden accents. Bold use of contrast and rich blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with punchy whites and dark dynamic highlights. Shadow delineation is strong and revealing of discernible detail visible in darkened backgrounds and low level wide angle shots. Resolution is excellent, particularly in brightly lit sequences, as images are characterized by definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. Shot in high definition I saw no signs of artifacts or extraneous noise as the image has a whistle clean aesthetic that looks terrific on my big screen.
- 2D high definition version of Gamer
- (HD) Inside the game: Controlling Gamer – 69 minute making of documentary
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Gamer suffers from a middling script and overzealous direction by co-writers/co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. I still find it to be an entertaining bit of escapism that I enjoy coming back to every now and then. It is making its second appearance on Blu-ray in this single disc 3D/2D release from Lionsgate Home Entertainment that includes the 2D version (but only contains the previously released making of documentary) along with a newly converted 3D high definition rendering that adds little enhancement to the already stalwart video quality. Fortunately it doesn’t detract from it and retains all of the attributes that make it reference quality. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack simply rocks and mates well with either presentation. For those that enjoy the 3D medium (who may not already own Gamer on Blu-ray) this release is worth considering especially if the price is right.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package