Add yet another surprising film to the Bloodtype On-line review vault! "Gamebox 1.0" is distributed by Lionsgate films and is directed by the Hillenbrand brothers (David and Scott). The film stars Nate Richert (who is relatively, if not totally unknown), Patrick Kilpatrick (who many film buffs might recognize as a small role actor in a bunch of movies and TV shows), and Danielle Fischel (who is best known for her recurring role as Topanga on the late 90's sitcom "Boy Meets World"). The film is probably a bit low budget for "Hollywood standards", yet probably had a much larger budget than most independent films.
The story follows Charlie Nash (Richert) who is a video game tester. As the plot progresses the viewer learns that Nash's girlfriend (Fischel) was shot and killed by a corrupt cop (Kilpatrick). The tragedy causes Charlie to fall into a deep depression. He never goes out and even though he tests video games for a living he stays in his house playing them for hours at home. He has a group of friends who try to help get him out of his rut, but Charlie is unresponsive. Before long he gets a mysterious package in the mail containing a brand new game system. Charlie decides to check it out and finds himself in a virtual world. Assuming the game is virtual reality, Charlie chooses to start in a "crime world" portion of the game and begins having a blast. Not a lot of time passes, though, before Charlie gets freaked out with how real the game world is and he pleads with the game system (that speaks to him as his guide) to allow him to quit. The game uses images of Charlie's friends as game characters and an image of his worst enemy (the corrupt cop) to play the role of the villain. It also uses memories and images from Charlie's mind which creates the key female figure of the game world to look and act like his ex-girlfriend.
Although the game scared Charlie, the state that he still finds himself in recovering from his girlfriend's death, causes him to return to the virtual world. Charlie continues where he left off before quitting the first time and is soon wanting to stop playing again. He escapes the game world but begins hearing and seeing things from the game in real life. He starts becoming paranoid and it begins to effect his work and hurt his friendships even more. He soon realizes that he must face the game and beat it completely before it kills him.
As I stated in the opening sentence of this review, this movie was another pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting much and it delivered a smooth, fast-paced experience. The effects and portions of the film taking place in the virtual game world really delivered on giving a cool style to the movie and a unique look that really did come off as if Charlie was in a video game. The acting from lead actor Nate Richert was solid along with key performances from the supporting cast namely Danille Fischel (still damn hot) and Pat Kilpatrick as the villain.
I love video games so that also helped my personal experience with this film but any moviegoer that enjoys action can get into this movie. The special features on the DVD include a "making-of" featurette that was informative and interesting, especially showing behind the scenes on how the game world scenes were shot on green screen. Overall I would say that "Gamebox 1.0" is definitely worth a watch if you're looking for a fun and easy watch (the movie runs at approximately 83 minutes).
Rating - **1/2
- Jared Bajoras