One thing futuristic movie makers are really good at is dreaming up new ways to deal with gangsters, murderers and other Death Row inmates. The future is clearly going to be loaded with opportunities to recycle disposable human waste.

Trouble is, most of these scenarios have been done to death already. In Gamer, these dregs of society are pressganged into a shoot’em up game called Slayer, created by Ken Castle, a stereotypical sleazy geek bearing an odd resemblance to a certain social website creator. In the game they are controlled by the usual stereotypical players such as the fat guy wedged in his chair and the rich kid with state of the art everything.

I’m not sure if it's being on Death Row or in the game that makes them so buff, but it’s a bit worrying to see what are supposed to be well practiced killers getting even better at killing with the promise that they will be released back into society if they survive.

Gerard Butler stars as Kable, the top avatar in Slayer, who is controlled by the afore mentioned rich kid. His wife has been roped into Castle’s other game, a kind of Second Life in which every avatar is a sleazebag, prostitute, date rapist, whatever. Kable wants to win his last game so he can get his pardon and find the missus.

I think he is also on Death Row for a crime he didn’t commit etc etc but don’t hold me to it. All the crims have faces like clenched fists, Kable is no exception and somehow the dialog comes out like ground glass. There’s a bunch of revolutionaries running around as well, trying to free the world from it’s obsession with gaming chairs.

Kable tracks down Ken Castle, only to be treated to a song and dance number, and in this case you can really understand why he loses it. That evil genius wouldn't pass an audition for American Idol. I’m still not sure why the directors - two of them, for pity’s sake! - Mike Neveldean and Brian Taylor, restrained themselves from giving Butler a musical number, after all he was the Phantom of the Opera. Even Terry Crews, that good old reliable tough guy, gets a chance to sing. But I digress.

The simple truth is, this movie is so mind numbingly stupid that after a while the brain goes comatose and nothing registers at all, except more clenched fist expressions from Butler, and more people getting shot and dying. The only bright spots in the whole sad mess are the appearances by John Leguizamo (much too brief) and Kyra Sedgewick as a cougarish TV presenter.

And after sitting through this pile of drivel, the cloyingly sweet ending is just insulting.

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