Gamer offers a good mix of humor and horror

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Gamer could easily have been a third rate rip-off of last year’s Death Race remake, but it turns out to be a solidly entertaining B-movie thanks to the writing/directing team of Mark Neveldine/Brian Taylor. The plot involves death row inmates, including the wrongly convicted Kable (Gerard Butler), who are given the chance to fight for their freedom. The twist is that their actions are controlled remotely by people who pay to use the convicts as avatars in an online multiplayer death-match game. Castle (Michael C. Hall) is the inventor of the technology that makes this possible. It's technology which he has also used to create a real-life version of “The Sims” that results in some of the funniest (and most disturbing) moments in the film. Also enjoyable is a song and dance number with Hall lip-synching to Sammy Davis, Jr. that comes out of left field but somehow works. For the most part, this is another goofy but fun romp like Neveldine/Taylor's Crank films, but with the added bonus of some actual social commentary and an honest-to-goodness moral viewpoint. ***

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