Why Isn't This A Film? - Gears Of War

What have we got here then?

Gears Of War is the bestselling, critically acclaimed videogame from Epic Studios which came out on Microsoft's Xbox360 console in 2006. Since then it has gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide, spawning a successful sequel (a third entry is on the way) and all the while not going any lower than number fifteen on the IGN Xbox game rankings.

OK fine. What’s it about?

The game follows a group of soldiers in their quest to rid their planet of Locust, an evil alien force that invaded some years earlier. The basic premise is that the soldiers must find a way to map the underground tunnels which the Locust dwell in before sending in what basically amounts to a big bomb to finish them off.

Interesting. Is there something more?

Quite a lot actually, which is surprising for a videogame. Epic took great pains to map out a colourful back story for the world in which we find ourselves. Called Sera, the planet loosely resembles a more 'down and dirty' version of Earth and has seen several wars fought over its main resource, a substance called Imulsion. Now in constant conflict with Locust, the planet has fallen into a state of decay, just about held from breaking point by the human resistance, soldiers known as COGs, who we follow through the plot.

Save me the trouble then – is it any good?

The game lives up to the hype and plays like a dream. An intuitive cover system makes the squad based running and firing both enjoyable and varied. Human allies react intelligently although they can ignore your calls when you try to marshall them together. The alien enemies are also largely unique and not at all canon-fodder, with many taking a certain amount of tactical planning to bring down. The locations too are beautifully realised and imaginative; from tunnels to streets to mansions, the game's graphics perfectly capture its wonderful and consistent aesthetic.

The core in-game plot is generic action fare (fight your way through a series of environments) but it is livened up by the characters. The core team (Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago, Augustus Cole and Damon Baird) are all rounded individuals with different character traits and reactions and although this isn't necessarily reflected in the gameplay, it does come to the fore in cut scenes, ensuring emotional investment in the characters as we move through the narrative.


Well... we could make the point that if you don't like videogames then you won't like this but then this could be a pretty short feature both now and in the future! The game can get a bit repetitive and although the environments are varied, the tactics remain moving forwards from cover-to-cover, sticking your gun out every so often to blow something up.

What are its chances of being made as a film?

At one point they looked extremely good. IMDb still has the title listed as 'In Development' with a release date of 2012. One site, which has tracked the development of the film since 2007, gives further details on the project, naming Len Wiseman as the director and generating casting rumours which seem centred mainly on WWE wrestlers. In April of this year though, Screen Rant reported that Wiseman was likely to leave the project, having taken on a new film that was likely to leave him with that old chestnut, a 'scheduling conflict'. Coupled with rumoured re-writes, budget cuts and modus operendi changes, the signs all point to a project in trouble.

But who'd star in it?

As mentioned above, original rumours had WWE wrestlers such as Batista filling out (literally) the roles of the bulked-up COG soldiers. Wiseman looked to move away from this, suggesting instead that bulk wouldn't be as important as acting skills. One sure bet seemed to be Wiseman's wife Kate Beckinsale which again, now looks unlikely if he's no longer going to be attached.

Away from these, Mickey Rourke would make a great Marcus although it might make the character slightly older. Fresh from The A-Team, Curtis 'Rampage' Jackson has both the build and the status to play Cole whilst his partner in crime Baird could be played by someone like Channing Tattum, adding the much-needed 'yoof' appeal. Assuming our fantasy cast list gets Rourke, Dominic Santiago may actually be the most difficult role to cast as anyone stepping in here needs to be subservient to Rourke but capable of holding an argument with him and commanding the other two members of the team. Perhaps Wentworth Miller, hot off staring in the latest Resident Evil could pull those two facets off?

Will it be any good?

It's a videogame adaptation so, once again trying our best to make this feature redundant, probably not. They'll be far too much shooting for its own good and far too little plot and character development resulting in a film that, whilst boyishly fun, has as much depth as the shallow end at our local pool.

Anything else I should know about it?

As mentioned above, a third entry into the franchise is due soon and IGN have the first details covered.

Why Isn't This A Film? is a regular Film Intel feature which takes a book (you know... one of those things with pages in, doesn't project on to a screen, makes small rustling noises), comic, video game or graphic novel and assesses its adaptation prospects. One day this feature will get something right and we will win something major and valuable. Possibly.


  1. I was obsessed with this game in college, and it's pretty much shrinkwrapped to be made into a movie, but I still don't know if it's gonna be any good. Story's not all that great and that's what's really missing from every last video game movie that's ever been put out. How about a post on why Metal Gear Solid isn't a movie yet?

  2. The thing with videogame movies is they really need to forget the story of the game (which is typically formed around enabling the 'go here, do that' scenario) and create something more cinematic with the basic premise and characters. Exactly as you say - story is what's always missing. The best adaptation in my opinion is SILENT HILL - a game which doesn't really follow the above structure.

    Good idea with METAL GEAR SOLID by the way. Not sure I've got it anymore but if I can manage to play though it again, I'll definitely feature it here.