Let’s get you rollin’!
Not deterred by the fact that the recent Hitman movie, Agent 47 (starring Zachary ‘Sylar’ Quinto and that Peter Quinn bloke off Homeland) has been received fairly poorly, yet is still by far not the worst video game movie ever – Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Doom, Max Payne… we could do this all day – 2K Software and Lionsgate have today revealed that there’s a Borderlands movie in the works.
Which on the one hand is kind of awesome – the Borderlands universe is an exciting place to weave stories around and has done tremendously well for Telltale Games (who Lionsgate already have a stake in) – but the annals of history are not on their side.
An additional word of caution, too: the Borderlands movie would do far better to base itself on Borderlands 2 or The Pre-Sequel, than the actual first Borderlands game. Because it’s story was non-existent for 95% of the game, then unnecessary and just a bit naff when it finally showed up late.
You’re on a planet to find a vault. Riches beyond your wildest dreams await those who do. Your characters are actually quite interesting, but they don’t get to interact much in the world going on around them. Dialogue is largely limited to “Need a medic!” and “Frag out!” You’re being led by a disembodied girl (Angel) chattering away in your communicator because, reasons, and then you start helping the most annoying scientist in the world (Tannis) because there’s actually nobody else to listen to that isn’t ostensibly a shop or a fetch-quest.
Twelve minutes before the end a nasty group of mercenaries turn up to act as antagonists, then get swept aside by the real final boss, whom you defeat and then nothing happens. (Oops, spoiler alert!) That doesn’t really sound like the basis for a thrilling Borderlands movie, now does it?
Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on the other hand, actually have remarkably strong plots and make fantastic use of the interesting cast of characters from the first game, plus a really rather brilliant baddie in Handsome Jack. Like the aforementioned Sylar in Heroes, or Joe Carroll in The Following, there’s something about having a charismatic and likable villain that’s so much better than your archetypal good-versus-bad story, so kudos to Gearbox for realising that and putting it right going forwards.
In reality, Lionsgate will probably make the Borderlands movie a composite story spanning the first two games (mostly the second) because in the world of movies based on video games, you fit the good stuff in while you can, because you very rarely get a chance to make a sequel.