Let’s face it, we movie and video game fans have been pretty poorly served by movie adaptations of our favourite button bashers. We’ve had two pretty appalling attempts at bringing the ‘Street Fighter‘ franchise to the screen, an ‘Assassin’s Creed‘ film that was underwhelming, a brave but flawed attempt to capture the dread of the ‘Silent Hill‘ world and the less said about the ‘Resident Evil’ movies, the better! Aside from this, we have also had the risible ‘Wing Commander‘, a ‘Max Payne‘ movie that didn’t make any sense if you were a fan of the game, and ‘Super Mario Bros.’ still brings a tear to my eye and pain to my abused heart. So far, only the gloriously bonkers ‘Mortal Kombat‘ has brought me any pleasure. ‘D.O.A‘ had some fun elements, but is pretty forgettable. So where does this leave us? Hollywood still seems determined to mine video games for intellectual properties to adapt into movies, but it seems as if the kinds of things we would actually want to see on the big screen are being overlooked.
As it’s a bank holiday (and I’m bored) I decided to put together a list of 5 video games that I would love to see adapt into movies. There are still plenty of stories out there in the video game world that are ripe for movie adaptations, so let’s take a look at our first choice, ‘Mirror’s Edge‘.
Why Mirror’s Edge?
‘Mirror’s Edge’ is the kind of video game that broke boundaries. It was the first of it’s kind to use ‘First Person’ or POV style gaming mechanics in a game that was primarily based around martial arts combat and evasion. It weaved in ‘parkour’ that added a fun dimension to the experience.
A movie adaption would need to capture these elements in the best way possible, but ‘Hardcore Henry‘ showed us that the first person camera views are a bit much for a movie audience and ‘Doom’ tried to add that familiar style to it’s movie adaptation, but it didn’t quite work out. Instead, I would focus on a more traditional style of filming making. The cityscapes in the game are amazingly well designed, and being captured on screen with IMAX cameras would give a extra dimension to the visuals that audiences do not see all that often.
With two games now in the can, this property is ripe for franchise building. I know some gamers have complained about the game’s plot lacking depth, but it’s a classic (and socially relevant) story about a how far a society is prepared to give up it’s freedoms for the perception of ‘order’. Add to that a decent murder mystery subplot and some decent characters and you have the ingredients of a workable Hollywood action movie script. I’ll go into who I think should be working on the movie in a moment.
Movies, especially action movies driven by a female lead character are pretty thin on the ground. Though ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lucy’ gave us a couple of memorable leads, there really isn’t much else out there. ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy started with a bang and ended with a whimper and the ‘Divergent’ series wasn’t up to much to begin with, so it’s time for a fresh approach. The figures for women behind the camera are, frankly, embarrassing. The latest statistics from Box Office Mojo suggest that women directors are responsible for just 6.4% of typical Hollywood output. With that in mind why not take the opportunity to make a ‘Mirror’s Edge’ movie that breaks the mould?
Who Should be Involved?
A good for a studio to back this would be Universal. They have shown with the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise that they are more than comfortable backing projects with diverse casts and giving film-makers outside of the Hollywood elite an opportunity. They are also not short of a few bob (they have money for US readers) so financing the project shouldn’t be an issue. They provide great marketing campaigns for their movies and have a huge global reach so anything they throw their weight behind should connect with their potential audience.
For a director, I would be looking at a woman. Yes, that makes me sound like an SJW, no I don’t care. As I mentioned above, it’s frankly embarrassing that there aren’t more women behind the camera when we know they exist and are out there! So who would be on the shortlist? Well, there are the usual suspects such as Lexi Alexander who has shown herself to be adept at handling action, even if I haven’t always enjoyed the movies themselves. Patty Jenkins has plunged head long into the DCEU with ‘Wonder Woman’ so we can so see how she handles big budget block busters, but she has a solid background in TV and independent movies and should be considered. But for more left field choices, I would consider Ana Lily Amirpour and PeiPei Alena Yuan . Amirpour has shown herself to be a brilliantly original filmmaker that would surely bring something different to the screen, whilst Yuan has a great background in stunts and visual effects and has also worked on low budget action movies. The key thing for all of these choices is that they would need to immerse themselves in the material, assuming they are not fans of the game already. I don’t know about you, but it is painfully obvious when a director has not bothered with actually playing the game they are basing their movie on and it’s tiresome for us fans. For writers, all of those choices are capable of adapting the game into a good script, but I would probably keep the original game’s writer Rhianna Pratchet on staff. Her work on the ‘Tomb Raider’ games reboot is great and she has plenty of ideas she can give to the movie. Add to this a good stunt team that can choreograph exciting, believable action scenes, and half of the hard work is done! (Germany’s Action Konzpet perhaps?)
So, who to play the lead role of Faith Connors? Well, Jessica Henwick did a great job within the shower of shit that was ‘Iron Fist’. She has a great deal of confidence and charisma that the character needs. She is also believable as a fighter and she often put her more illustrious co-star in the shade. She would be a front runner on that basis, but both Jamie Chung and Constance Wu would both be great alternatives. Chung has a diverse filmography and experience of featuring in action movies, whilst Wu feels like a star in the making just in need of that one key role that will send her star soaring. Both of them would be good choices in my eyes, so it would really come to down to who auditioned well as to the final decision.
With the talent involved and the backing of a major Hollywood studio, ‘Mirror’s Edge’ should be a exciting, thought provoking and entertaining summer blockbuster. With a unique lead star, so eye popping visuals and thrilling stunt work, it could well and truly be the adaptation that finally puts the ‘video game movies suck’ monkey to bed and opens up the franchise to new fans across the world. In fact, this make so much sense to me, I think I should serve as executive producer, if only someone would give me 1-2 hundred millions dollars..