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<i>Gamer</i>: Haven’t We Played This Game Before?

As an office full of Crank fans, we're psyched to see Gamer, the next project from Crank and Crank: High Voltage directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Maybe it's because it looks like it has a lot in common with the Cranks, as far as hyperkinetic action and video game iconography go, but it may also be that the plot reminds us of some of our favorite movies of the past. In Gamer, a convict named Kable is a remote-controlled soldier in a real-life video game, and he only needs to win three more games to win his freedom. Maybe it's on purpose, maybe it's just coincidence, but here are a few of the films that we think of whenever we watch the Gamer trailer.

Death Race
While the original Death Race 2000 is its own beast, the 2008 remake with Crank star Jason Statham had convicts racing against each other for their freedom on a special track. Statham played a ringer, a race-car driver framed for his wife's murder who takes the place of four-time "champion" Frankenstein, and only needs one win to go home. If Kable is the innocent man we think he is, these two may well be peas in a pod.

The Running Man
A good man, framed and forced to compete in a crazy game show by a charismatic, folksy host? That sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger's fate in this 1987 film, where he donned Spandex and raced for his life (and a pardon) from superhero-wrestlers with flamethrowers and deadly hockey sticks. Michael C. Hall is no Richard Dawson from Family Feud, but he sure gives it a shot.

Freejack
Just as in Gamer, this movie promises prisoners a second lease on life, but under someone else's conditions. But instead of Gerard Butler being forced to play "Slayers" by a kid, Anthony Hopkins wants to use Emilio Estevez's body to have sex with Rene Russo. (Hey, not a bad deal.) And just as in Gamer, a pop star-turned-actor wants to keep it from happening, although it remains to be seen if Ludacris will be as effective as Mick Jagger was.

Innerspace
We know that the kid in Gamer isn't actually inside Gerard Butler, but what if he was? He'd be like Dennis Quaid in Innerspace, guiding Martin Short through car chases and espionage, and giving him energy boosts and new faces whenever he needed them. He wouldn't have to rely on a wireless connection, either.

Rollerball
While the setting of Rollerball is the world of professional sports, the use of the violent game as an opiate for the masses is the same as in Gamer. James Caan's Jonathan is the greatest player to ever play the game, and the corporations that run the world do everything they can to beat down his individuality. We're assuming that Kable will be at least as successful at defying his masters and inspiring the masses as Jonathan was, otherwise this is gonna be one downer of a movie.

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