'X-Men'

We've seen the ads, we've seen a trailer, but we really have no idea what to expect from this week's release of Gamer. Except that it's directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the madmen of action cinema, and it's set in the near future, and it concerns an online game that involves mind control. Cool! If we're lucky, maybe we can figure out what's happening before a migraine sets in from all the on-screen insanity sure to be unleashed from the people behind Crank and Crank High Voltage.

Focusing on the mind control angle for a moment led me to think about all the great sci-fi movies that have played around with the idea of remote control mental gymnastics. The adolescent brain immediately seizes on the possibilities inherent in stripping unsuspecting young ladies down to the buff (thanks a lot, Zapped!), yet the more mature thinker wonders about deeper issues, like what to do with a woman who will only go out with you because you gave her no choice.

1. X-Men
Bryan Singer wove the mind control battle between Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) into the fabric of the story. You could enjoy Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) discovering a fuller range of his powers, sympathize with the desperate plight of Rogue (Anna Paquin), admire Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), or simply try and stare through the body paint covering Mystique (Rebecca Romijn). Lurking in the background, though, was a duel between good and evil, with Professor Xavier favoring gentle nudges in the right direction and Magneto ready to wage an all-out war.

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