Movie adaptations of 'Gears of War,' 'BioShock' and 'Max Payne' in the works

Victor Godinez
The Dallas Morning News (MCT)
Gears of War

Why do movie studios continue to insist on making movies based on video games? Probably because there's more money in it than you might think.

Last week came word that Len Wiseman ("Live Free or Die Hard") has been tapped to direct a film version of Gears of War. Gore Verbinski ("Pirates of the Caribbean") is helming the movie adaptation of BioShock, while John Moore ("Flight of the Phoenix") is directing a movie version of Max Payne starring Mark Wahlberg that comes out in October. Bruce Willis is reportedly close to an agreement to star in a movie version of Kane & Lynch.

For many gamers, the only vision we have of game-based movies are the terrible adaptations of Uwe Boll, creator of such critical and commercial flops as "House of the Dead," "BloodRayne" and "Alone in the Dark." But the truth is that many game-based movies have grossed serious bucks.

For every "Double Dragon" ($2.3 million U.S. box-office gross), there's a "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" ($131 million U.S. box office plus $62.8 million in U.S. video rentals).

According to the box-office tracking site, each of the three "Resident Evil" movies grossed more than $100 million in worldwide box office, not counting video rentals, sales and other revenue. With that kind of money at stake, it's no wonder that a handful of stinkers hasn't dissuaded movie studios from turning to games for inspiration.

Of course, that just makes it all the more inexplicable that the most successful cinematic games have yet to hit the big screen.

Peter Jackson was at one time working on a Halo movie that was to be directed by Neill Blomkamp.

That project ran into a landmine when Microsoft's financial demands were apparently too steep for any studio to stomach, and the movie has essentially been canceled.

Metal Gear Solid would also seem to be a no-brainer movie, as MGS4 is as much movie as game, and everybody loves it.

But a movie adaptation of the series seems almost as unlikely as a Halo movie at this point as the MGS movie has been stuck in development for years.

Although the mysteriously still-employed Mr. Boll will likely continue to depress the average review scores and box-office takes for game-based movies, there's reason to be hopeful. The actors and directors signing on for the most high-profile projects are professional, competent moviemakers.

I'm unabashedly curious to see what BioShock and Gears of War look like; even Max Payne, a cops-and-robbers game inspired by noir movies, might well survive the translation back to cinema.

But, man, I want my Halo movie.

I have no doubt it will come eventually. There's too much money at stake.

I just hope Uwe Boll doesn't direct it.






Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.


The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.


Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.


King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.


Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.


Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.


Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.


The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.


Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.


The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.


'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.


Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.


Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.


South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.


Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.


'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.


A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.


The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.