The central comedy conceit of Dead Gentlemen Productions' movies The Gamers and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is that during a D&D-type game we get to see the characters acting out the action (and inaction) as the players decide what to do.  For The Gamers: Hands of Fate, the scope of the action has been expanded -- in both subject and location -- and that's both a good and bad thing.

The main cast of the first two movies is back, but Hands of Fate focuses on Cass (Brian Lewis), who was a dick in the previous movies.  He becomes immediately smitten with hot gamer babe Natalie (Trinn Miller), who responds to his advances with acerbic put-downs.  But she agrees to go out with him -- if he wins the national championship for Romance of the Nine Empires (a collectible card game that's a combination of Magic: The Gathering and Legend of the Five Rings) at GenCon and makes her favorite card the queen.
We get to see the world of the ccg acted out -- including several characters in the game experiencing deja vu and trying figure out what's going on.  In addition, at GenCon (where much of the movie was filmed) there are several other delvings into geek culture, from Star Wars (the security is composed of Stormtroopers) to Pokemon (Gary (Christian Doyle) is obsessed with harming someone in a Pikachu-type costume).  There are also movie references and parodies galore, like Cass' Matrix-style card training and a disturbing homage to Reservoir Dogs.  There are card-player conspiracies and old vs. new styles of playing.  And the rpg characters (and villain the Shadow) are sitting around for over a year, waiting for the players' and GM's schedules to sync up so they can keep playing.

As you might have guessed, there's a lot going on here - and sadly, more isn't always better. While a lot of the original movies' inherent goofiness remains in effect, adding in additional genres to spoof and a less-than-compelling romance make Hands of Fate lack focus.  At slightly over two hours long, some of the numerous storylines could have been eliminated to make the movie go smoother.  There are plenty of funny moments in The Gamers: Hands of Fate and it's nice for Dead Gentlemen Productions to bring the familiar characters back, but this is sadly the weakest Gamers movie so far.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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