Upcoming Video-Game Movies: Need for Speed and Warcraft

Need_For_Speed_posterAfter last year saw the release of both the fifth Resident Evil film and the long-awaited sequel of Silent Hill, not to mention Wreck-It Ralph (although yours truly had to wait until this year to see them all because of distribution hick-ups), 2013 has been mostly quiet on the front of VG films. Even the extremely industrious shite-meister, Uwe Boll, has only one title under production – the second sequel to his surprisingly best movie In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (I have still not seen ITNOTK 2 though).

However, new and, I might add, interesting movie projects are now in the horizon. The big one everyone is currently talking about is Need for Speed, based on the long-running racing game series by the same name. It will star Braking Bad’s Aaron Paul and the trailer dropped a little while back. Right now, based solely on the trailer, the movie looks very interesting. Though I have only fleeting familiarity with the game franchise in question, I actually find this to be a refreshing concept. To my recollection, no video-game movie has been based on a racing game so far and that’s what makes this interesting. At the same time, it perhaps begs the question why the film is even borrowing the title of the franchise. The film will feature an original story and characters, which means that it won’t be borrowing elements of the more story-drive instalments of the franchise (like the Underground-series and The Run).

I’m mildly optimistic and the game is a co-op between Dreamworks and Touchstone, so it’s got some serious backing. However, I’m a little afraid that like many video-game movies as of late A.) It’s going to skip cinemas in my country, which means I have to wait for the DVD release and B.) without any concrete ties to the video-game series, I don’t see this film as really catching the attention of fans or even the general audiences. The best the movie can hope for is a mildly positive reception as its own thing because right now the video-game connection seems tenuous to say the least.

Word is out also that Warcraft is due to be made into a movie by Universal Studios. Right now, the projected release date for this instalment is 2015 which I’m a little wary of since it could mean that the movie can potentially get snubbed at any point between now and then. Universal’s previous endeavour in video-game films was the 2005 sci-fi creature feature Doom by Adrzej Bartkowiak, which while entertaining in its own right, didn’t do well enough to warrant a sequel (Bartkowiak was later responsible for the second live action Street Fighter movie, The Legend of Chun Li). An epic fantasy adventure seems a little ambitious, but it could potentially be an interesting endeavour. If all goes well, this and Need for Speed should keep the VG-film scene alive the next few years.

Of course, the sixth and potentially final Resident Evil movie is also due to come out in the Fall of 2014, but right now we know very little about it except that it apparently is supposed to be Milla Jovovich’s final film as the character of Alice. Here’s hoping the build up of the last two films, Afterlife and Retribution, will finally reach some kind of conclusion.