Video game movies roundup: Borderlands, Assassin's Creed, Hitman Agent 47
Lionsgate looks for next mega-series as final Hunger Games' launches in November
Adam Sandler's Pixels gave movies based on video games a new low score. It was a notably poor entry, even in the generally disappointing history of video game film adaptations.
That hasn't stopped gaming publishers and film studios from trying their luck at a cross-platform success, however. Here's a roundup of video game movie news from the past week.
Lionsgate working on Borderlands film
According to a report by Variety, Lionsgate is working on a film based on the Borderlands video game series.
The report names producers Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad as working on the project. The elder Arad is a former chief creative officer and CEO of Marvel Entertainment and has worked on past superhero film franchises such as Iron Man, Spider-Man and X-Men.
Borderlands, a role-playing first-person shooter that debuted in 2009, is primarily set on the post-apocalyptic frontier world of Pandora and features characters both brutal and campy. Think Mad Max: Fury Road meets Batman: The Animated Series.
Borderlands and its two sequels, developed by Gearbox Studios and published by 2K Games, have sold more than 26 million copies since the series' debut. A narrative-focused spinoff game series, Tales From The Borderlands, is currently being released in episodic format by Telltale Studios.
Lionsgate might be looking to Borderlands as its next potential blockbuster franchise; its final instalment in the Hunger Games series starring Jennifer Lawrence, Mockingjay: Part 2, hits theatres in November.
Michael Fassbender's look in Assassin's Creed revealed
On Thursday, Yahoo got a first look at Michael Fassbender's costume in the upcoming Assassin's Creed film. It's the first official image from the film, which is based on the video game franchise by Ubisoft, many of which are developed in its Canadian studios in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto.
The image closely mimics promotional images of the Creed films. In it, Fassbender is wearing thick robe and cowl, the traditional uniform of the Assassins — a shadowy group of vigilantes at war with an equally shadowy organization, the Templars. The thick belt, obscuring hood and "hidden blades" attached to his gauntlets are all present and accounted for.
Yahoo reports that Fassbender will play Callum Lynch, a modern descendant of the Assassins, and Aguilar, his Spanish ancestor from the 15th century. The character has not appeared in any Creed game, as both the character and plot are specific to the film, which is set for release Dec. 21, 2016.
Hitman: Agent 47 bombs in reviews
Gamers hyped for either of the aforementioned movies may want to measure their anticipation, because the latest video game to hit theatres, Hitman: Agent 47, was pilloried by critics and audiences alike.
The movie stars Rupert Friend as Agent 47, a well-dressed modern assassin who was bio-engineered to become the perfect killing machine.
His film doesn't appear to be engineered to be entertaining, though, as critics have lambasted it as derivative, incoherent, and boring.
Agent 47 "actually resembles a uniquely boring, feature-length Audi commercial, incidentally intent on pinching ideas from the first two Terminators," writes The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw.
Screen Crush's Jacob Hall argues that Agent 47 is just the latest example in filmmakers misunderstanding what made people like the games they're adapting in the first place.
The "typical action hero stuff" seen in the film "is exactly the kind of shoot-first mayhem that Hitman games explicitly punish players for practicing," he writes.
"Hitman games are about suspense. The movie adaptation is about endless gunfight after endless gunfight."