The actor who so memorably led the Spartans to a dinner date in hell in “300” is starring this September in “Gamer,” the latest movie from “Crank” codirectors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Butler said the thriller is so intense and violent, that it makes the saga of King Leonidas look like a summer stroll in sandals.
“It makes ‘300’ look like a walk in the park, “ Butler said of the film that merges online gaming culture with a plot that might remind some fans of futuristic gladiator fantasy of The Running Man. “It exists in a world where gaming and technology have melded into one and morality has gone out the window.”
Butler, speaking during a press day for the R-rated romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth,” said “Gamer” is stylish in its ultra-violence.
“It feels,” he said, “like the coolest art-house action film.”
In the film, multi-player online entertainment has evolved so much so that gamers can now use real-life people as their avatars, called “slayers.” Those disposable avatars fight for their survival; all of them are chumps plucked from hard-luck lives, such as Butler’s character, Kable, a death-row inmate.
“It’s completely accepted that people can be slaughtered in the game, and it will be shown globally,” Butler said. “You get to watch people who can go and shoot [the hell] out of each other. The country doesn’t go to war anymore. A lot of the grotesque titillation we get out of watching the war in Iraq or Afghanistan – that’ s not necessary anymore because we have ‘slayers’.”
Butler shot the film back in early 2007, but it’s been delayed until this upcoming September because the directors went off to shoot “Crank 2.” There’s an impressive cast (Michael C. Hall of “Dexter“, John Leguizamo, Kyra Sedwick, Ludacris and Alison Lohman) but will the fanboys embrace with greater love than they did “Death Race,” a recent fight-or-die-in-the-future action film? One early take wasn’t positive; an early naysayer review on Ain’t It Cool News weighed in that “Gamer” was “beyond boring and the action was completely unexciting.” Ouch.
— Rachel Abramowitz
CREDITS: “Gamer” photo — Lionsgate. Ludacris –Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times.