Why Isn't This A Film? - Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

What have we got here then?

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a now-legendary videogame and the fourth entry in the Call Of Duty series. It was the first game to take the series away from its fact-based World War II roots and in to a recognisable, but fictional, modern day setting.

OK fine. What’s it about?

As has become standard in the Call Of Duty games, the story follows a number of protagonists, chief amongst them being new SAS soldier 'Soap' MacTavish. Soap is in Eastern Europe, attempting to track down Imran Zakhaev, a bitter revolutionary threatening to launch nuclear bombs against the western world if his demands are not met.

Interesting. Is there something more?

Other protagonists include US marine Paul Jackson and Soap's commanding officer Captain Price. Jackon is in a middle-eastern country trying to track down Khaled Al-Asad, another revolutionary who has mounted a coup and is believed to be in possession of further nuclear material. Price's missions are experienced in flashback form and tell the story of his first brush with Zakhaev.

Save me the trouble then – is it any good?

In single-player the game is compelling but short lived. Even when chasing down many of the Xbox 360 achievements, the game can be beaten in around ten hours. Thankfully the 'getting to know you' period of becoming comfortable with the controls and the gameplay style is short and once you get used to the fact that you can't issue orders to your team-mates (indeed, often, they will issue orders to you), it becomes very enjoyable, very quickly. Varied missions, such as sniper assignments or the gunship mission, ensure you don't tire of the more standard first-person 'point and shoot' mechanics.


It does go by in a flash and at times it's supposed 'realism' is destroyed by its low-level difficulty. On the lower two difficulty levels for example, you can run in to a room full of enemies, shoot a couple of them, stab a couple more and emerge without a scratch. For a game so proud of how accurate it is, this can grate. Equally, a lot of time is spent either waiting for squad members to catch up or watching them have all the fun. On several occasions there will be two squad members who 'breach' an enemy hideout, taking out anyone present in the process before you even enter the room. It's nice to have some allies with a bit of intelligence but perhaps giving them a less prevalent role would have resulted in more fun for the player.

What are its chances of being made as a film?

Given how popular the franchise is, it only seems a matter of time before a film appears under the Call Of Duty banner. How closely it will be aligned to the plot of COD4 though remains a mystery and it might well be that this game's core plot is judged as too political to link to what would probably be a more straight up action film. In May 2009, Empire picked up on a Hollywood Reporter article (that most reliable of sources) which mentioned the fact that Activision had made tentative steps towards selling the property although, currently, there's nothing concrete in the works.

But who'd star in it?

Sure fire favourite for a role as one of the SAS officers must be everyone's favourite Scot, Gerard Butler who is no stranger to derivative action tosh and seems made for a part in this. Of the game's voice cast Craig Fairbrass seems the actor most likely to reprise some sort of presence in the film. You might recognise him from... erm, well not much really, although he has been a presence in British TV and film for long enough to justify a minor inclusion here.

Seeing as the main two players, Soap and Jackson are silent characters, anyone could really do a decent shot at bringing them to screen. I've said before that it would be nice to see Sam Riley do something a bit more mainstream following British films Control and Brighton Rock although Hollywood's current favourite hard nut Tom Hardy would be a more predictable fit for a special forces officer, considering his efforts in the snow during Inception. On the American side of things, Aaron Eckhart looks the part in fatigues from what's so far been shown of World Invasion: Battle LA whilst Ben Foster would make a good fit as the more junior Jackson.

Will it be any good?

No. The problem with a film of Call Of Duty is that the franchise doesn't require 'selling' to be a box office hit. Like Tomb Raider and Prince Of Persia before it, the series has enough fans that the film will make money regardless of its quality. History tells you that when that's the case, the quality of the product diminishes substantially, as anyone who saw the two mentioned outings will attest.

Anything else I should know about it?

For none fans: a bit of history on the series. The first three CODs are all based during the Second World War with players taking on roles from different members of the allied forces including, in an unusual step for a mainstream game, Polish and Canadian fighters. COD5, was actually called World At War and returned the series back to its Second World War routes after COD4 had taken us into the modern era. COD: Modern Warfare 2 is the direct sequel to COD4 whilst the most recent game, COD: Black Ops was released at the end on 2010, taking the player through a series of challenges set in and around the 1960s.

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.


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  2. Just discovered your "Why isn't this a film" section and I'm in love with it! Brilliant idea and well executed.

    I look forward to your next post.

  3. Thanks Sammy, glad to hear you like it!