Directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are best known for the beyond-bonkers one-two punch of Crank 1& 2, movies where Jason Statham stars as an adrenaline junkie who'll hook his tongue up to a car battery to power toward brutal vengeance on his enemies. But too often overlooked in these masterminds of mayhem's contribution to cinema is one outrageous yet haunting moment in Gamer. Of course, I'm talking about its creepy and inexplicable dance number.
Set in a not-so-distant future, Gamer has Gerard Butler playing a convict named Kable, who gives control of his body over to a teen gamer because something something dystopia. This is not a movie where its convoluted plot matters as much as the insane spectacle for which Neveldine and Taylor are revered. Required context: Michael C. Hall plays an engineering genius called Ken Castle, basically an evil Steve Jobs who pulling the strings of people through his mind-controlling tech.
When Kable goes to confront this fiendish figure, he enters a dark room, it sounds like -- is that water dripping? Is it fingers snapping? And just as you think, "What is happening here?" Gamer gives itself over to an unnerving and show-stopping dance number led by Broadway's own Michael C. Hall:
With this brief and bonkers scene, Neveldine and Taylor created a villain more eccentric than any James Bond has ever faced. Because if you're going to have a showdown with the hero, do it with panache.
When Kable arrives ready to strike, he's not simply mobbed by mind-controlled minions. Instead, he's menaced by Hall's lip-syncing villain, who is making a sick joke of the whole body-snatching situation with the song "I've Got You Under My Skin." And before attacking Kable, this kooky Castle trots out his lackeys as literally mindless backup dancers. Which seems to thoroughly freak out our big strong hero.
So cheers to Neveldine and Taylor and Hall for injecting a bit of musical fun into their gritty action thriller, or conversely bringing some well-placed insidiousness into a jaunty musical number. This unforgettable mix of horror and dance brings a crooked smile to our lips every time we think of it.
We've got it, under our skin…