ARTICLES | March 24th, 2007
Gaming goes to Hollywood! Part 1

With an ever-growing fan base, the gaming industry continues to outgrow the mighty film industry as the years roll by. An optimist would see a glass half full, while a pessimist would see the same glass as half empty. An opportunist, however, would try to integrate both industries. And that is what has been happening for a while, now. Except that in the coming years, it should get better? much better.

Many are now familiar with films like Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Doom and Alone in the Dark. Well, while these are arguably flops in the attempt to make successful video-game movies, what comes ahead promises a lot of change.

Hitman (2007), is the controversial movie based on the favourite genetically modified assassin, Codename 47. While the fan base is strongly divided over which actor should play 47, the script seems already quite strong, despite the fact that it was penned out by Skip Woods. While many believe in Jason Statham and Vin Diesel, others believe it should be David Bateson, who voices 47 in the games and on who the game model is based. Things, however, have taken quite a different turn, as actor Timothy Olyphant has now taken the role. Vin Diesel, who was expected to play the cloned killer in 2007, dropped out due to commitments with his film, ?Hannibal?.

The film follows 47 being sent back to Russia to eliminate a witness who he didn?t manage to eliminate in his last job. Once he?s there, however, the whole premise turns out to be a set up. In the meantime, an Interpol agent who has been tracking 47 for the past 3 years is now managing to close in. The hunter becomes the hunted.

Splinter Cell: The Movie (2007), is a movie based on the infamous NSA spy, Sam Fisher, who despite his age, remains one of the deadliest, most invisible agents to ever exist. Although the scripts of movies based on Tom Clancy creations are usually penned by Tom Clancy, this one is being written by John McLaughlin, the man responsible for writing the disastrous Tommy Lee Jones movie, ?Man of the House?. Peter Berg?s (the director) credits include the film ?The Rundown? (that movie starring The Rock being molested by a monkey) as well as the upcoming movies ?The Kingdom? (2007) and ?The Mission? (2007). So far, the movie features no lead actors of the sort, however many fans want Bruce Willis for Doug Shetland and Johnny Messner, Matthew Fox or George Clooney for Sam Fisher.

Max Payne (2007), will be based on the classic film noir shooter where a DEA undercover cop goes on a killing spree and up the hierarchy of numerous crime syndicates. On a personal mission to avenge the deaths of his wife and child, this troubled DEA cop (Max Payne) is framed for murder and finds himself being hunted by the police, the mob, and a ruthless corporation. Unfortunately, Sam Lake, the genius who wrote the first two games, and who provided his likeness for the first Max Payne, will be writing just the characters for the movie. The person authoring the screenplay is none other than Thomas H. Fenton, who was responsible for a horribly cheap and disastrous action movie. Here?s hoping that Sam Lake will make the right decisions in creating the movie. The fans argue daily on who should be Max Payne. Names such as Clive Owen, Michael Madsen, Johnny Knoxville and Bruce Willis have all turned up on numerous forums around the world.

Rainbow Six (2008), was meant to be released in 2005. Every year it is postponed as the project is extremely difficult to translate to Hollywood. The director is a young prodigy, fortunately, and is the genius behind the upcoming ?300? and the epic ?Watchmen?. Many believe that the book is too big to be a film, and it should be turned into a TV miniseries in order to evenly break out the story. No lead actors have been yet named, and the story itself is still being adapted by John Enbom, the writer of ?Veronica Mars?. On the lighter side, some fans actually want to see Chuck Norris as John Clark!

Halo (2008), is expected to be one of the greatest epics of 2008, and probably the most epic film mentioned in this article. It will be produced by Peter Jackson, the genius behind ?he Lord of the Rings? and ?King Kong?, and directed by Neill Blomkamp, who although doesn?t have much experience in direction, has been slated as a highly creative director, and is expected to make a good job out of this (well, Microsoft DID accept him after all). The script, written by the great Alex Garland, was sold to Universal for a whopping 10 million dollars. With such an expensive script, and such a stellar team working on the project, we should be in for quite a treat. The script, now being revised by D.B. Weiss, is expected to go into production later next year. So far, no actors have been cast, and fans haven?t put forth many suggestions, although they are hoping for a First Person Shooter sequence as in ?Doom?. The story is about the war between man and extra-terrestrial species. After they crash-land on an artificial ring-world called Halo, a marine captain, his surviving marines, and a genetically-and-surgically-enhanced supersoldier called Master Chief must find out what the Covenant, the genocidal alien race they are at war with, are looking for on the ring. However, Halo holds more secrets than either side imagined.

Far Cry (2008), is an adaptation of the first-person-shooter video game where Jack Carver, a retired Special Forces Officer now is transport for hire, by people and cargo. On one eventful trip, Jack ferries a photographer called Val who wants to photograph old Japanese WW2 bases on some of the Micronesian islands. However, he goes through hell when his boat is attacked and destroyed by an unknown party. Surviving by the skin of his teeth, he must now find Val and uncover what is truly happening on these dark and mysterious islands. So far, it is rumoured that American actor Michael Par? will be playing Jack Carver, although fans believe that Thomas Jane, from the movie ?The Punisher?, should be cast instead. Unfortunately, the film is directed by Uwe Boll, who is famous for making and ruining movies based on video games. Whether he doesn?t believe in the potential of the two industries going hand in hand, whether it is a personal vendetta against games, or just a lack of skill, we will never know. Uwe Boll is famous for bringing senseless action, sex and lame lines to his video game adaptations. Far Cry, however, might just be the video game he COULD adapt. Nevertheless, we?ll find out in 2008.

Postal (2007), is adapted from the popular, albeit banned, game where a postal service employee goes on a kill-and-destroy mission after a series of frustrating events taking part in his everyday life. While the game itself was highly unethical in every sense of the way, it was also very humorous how you could actually play (or shoot) through the days of the week. So far, Gary Coleman is cast as Gary Coleman, and Ron Perlman (from ?Enemy at the Gates? and ?Hellboy?) is cast as Uncle Dave. Oh, and the film will be written and directed by? Uwe Boll. In fact, he has become so tired of being criticised that he invited his harshest critics to fly over to Vancouver, Canada, and fight him in a boxing match. While nobody can really understand what he wants to prove from such an event, he will be showing the fights on the Internet and use some footage for Postal. Could this mean that he plans on playing the Postal Dude? Either way, Boll?s fan site (www.bollfans.com/us) seemed to suggest that they liked Chuck Norris and even David Hasslehoff filling the role. Either way, it seems that some critics are actually going to fly there. Unfortunately, Mr. Boll should realise that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Mr. Boll himself said the following to give us an idea about this project: Postal will be so politically incorrect and harsh, it’s like a mirror to American society, and I don’t think the movie will be well received by everybody. For example, Osama Bin Laden will be one of the lead characters?I think that shows the mood of the movie.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2006/2007). A Uwe Boll film. Actually, this is his take on The Lord of The Rings trilogy. To be exact, he wants to try and make an equal film. Now I am not much of a fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, yet I somehow think that Uwe Boll still won?t manage this. Nevertheless, he has an all-stellar, yet out-of-place cast, including Jason Statham (?The Transporter?), Ray Liotta (?GoodFellas?, ?GTA: Vice City?), Matthew Lillard (?Scooby Doo?) and Burt Reynolds (?Boogie Nights?). (Let?s hope he won?t do the same thing he did as ?BloodRayne?, where he cast prostitutes instead of actresses in order to get them to do what he wanted). The film is about a man called Farmer, who embarks on a quest to avenge his dead son and rescue his wife from the Krugs, a race of animal-warriors controlled by the evil wizard, Gallian. During his quest, he will ally himself with the armies of the King, and eventually saves his Kingdom.

Tekken (2007/2008), ?Dead or Alive?s? more promising counterpart, revolves around a young man who discovers great power and must battle other fighters who want to take it from him.

The leader of a corrupt business, Heihachi, who is under investigation for murder, suspiciously announces a tournament to crown a King of the Iron Fist, where the winner will be made his personal bodyguard and will have all the riches and fame they could desire. However the tournament is not all it seems, as all of the contestants seem to have their own agendas – to get close to the man looking to employ them.

Consequently a group of elite fighters, undercover police and assassins team together in the hope of uncovering the truth, but slowly realise they are in fact linked together through more than just their goal of killing Heihachi.

No actors have yet been announced, yet the screenplay has been written by Hans Rodionoff and Michael Colleary (?Face/Off? and ?Lara Croft: Tomb Raider?). Charles Stone III (?Mr. 3000?) will be directing this film.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2008), will be based on the first cinematic Prince of Persia game, about a Prince who unlocks the sands of time and in a bid to save his Kingdom and the world, teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from unleashing the sandstorm. The script is written by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who wrote ?The Day After Tomorrow?, and Jordan Mechner, who created the first Prince of Persia, as well as the writer for ?Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? (the Ubisoft Video Game). Although nobody was cast yet in the film (the actress playing Farah left the project), there are strong rumours that it will be David K Zandi who will fill the Prince?s pained shoes. There is no word, yet, if Ubisoft will be fully supporting the project.

Metal Gear Solid (2008/2009), will be directed by Hideo Kojima, the man who created (wrote and directed) every Metal Gear game, starting from the early arcade versions of the late 80?s and ending up with 2007?s next-gen release, ?The Guns of the Patriots?. So far, there?s very little word going round about this film, yet it is said that the film itself will contain a separate plot, and will not be remade from any of the games, although it will certainly use many elements. There are no indications as to who will fill the role yet, although Mr. Kojima himself said that Christian Bale (?Batman Begins? and the coming ?The Dark Knight?) is his favourite. While Christian Bale would be able to fit Solid Snake, he might not be available for filming, especially due to his contract with Warner Bros? Batman series. However, the fans seem to think that other actors will be able to effortlessly play the gritty killer on the silver screen. Such names include Hugh Jackman, who played Wolverine in the X-Men series, and who will star in his own film, called ?Wolverine?; and Kurt Russel (?The Thing? and ?Poseidon?), on whom Solid Snake was originally based. Kurt Russel is however growing too old for the role, and Hugh Jackman is not Hideo Kojima?s favourite choice. This could mean that the film could be delayed till 2009, when Christian Bale would have ended his contract for ?The Dark Knight?.

The Hobbit (????), might be Peter Jackson?s next stab at inflating his ?The Lord of the Rings? legacy. While the movie will not be entirely based on the game, but rather, on Tolkien?s book, Peter Jackson might certainly take a few sequences and cues from the game, released in 2003 by Sierra Entertainment and Midway.

And now, for something different:

Recently, Boll made a challenge to his critics to put up or shut up. In June 2006, his production company issued a press release stating that Boll would challenge his five harshest critics each to a 10 round boxing match. To be eligible, the critic must have written two extremely negative reviews of Boll, in print or on the Web, in 2005. Footage from the fights will be included in his upcoming film Postal. On June 20, 2006, Rich Lowtax Kyanka stated on SomethingAwful.com that he has been invited by Boll to be the first contestant. Kyanka, having reviewed Alone in the Dark, claims Boll will get his ass kicked.

The online gambling site GoldenPalace.com decided to sponsor this event, giving it the name Raging Boll. The list of five critics to step into the ring with Boll was drawn up in late August 2006, and features Kyanka, Rue Morgue magazine writer Chris Alexander, webmaster of Cinecutre Carlos Palencia Jimenez-Arguello, and Ain’t it Cool News writer Jeff Sneider.

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