Analyzing Video Game Movies: Far Cry

Analyzing Video Game Movies: Far Cry

Well here we are at the end of the year and Far Cry 3 was pretty much the last big release of 2012 yesterday and it seemed appropriate, since we have been talking video game movies, to talk about the Uwe Boll Far Cry film adaptation. Yes we are finally talking Uwe Boll! Now Far Cry is actually one of Uwe Boll’s later video game movies and this may not be a good place to start with talking about his career because Far Cry is actually one of his better movies. Now don’t get me wrong, Far Cry is a bad movie made by a worse director but I can honestly say that if I knew someone who was super interested in a Far Cry movie that I could actually recommend it with managed expectations.  Uwe Boll has made some of the worst video game movies to date but Far Cry is easily his most watchable film in the genre.

Let’s start with what I think is good about Far Cry. This movie actually sticks to its source material very closely. It follows the plot of the first game where ex-military man Jack Carver is running boat tours off his fishing boat and is taking a lovely reporter out to some island where it turns out an evil scientist is running experiments to create these giant super soldiers. The film pretty much hits all of these beats right on which is more than what can be said about some other video game films out there. There are plenty of action scenes and for the most part are all really good. The biggest gripe I have with them is that Jack uses mostly just a handgun through the whole movie and is a crack shot taking down almost everyone with just one shot each. It’s a little corny but the action fits the style of Far Cry and is scattered throughout the film. What is probably the biggest departure from the games is the films setting. While the original Far Cry took place on tropical islands, the movie takes place in a more woodland island setting. You still get Jack moving through forests and trees we have just switched from tropical jungles to woodland forests. Overall it didn’t impact the movie to me though it would have been better in the tropical setting.

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It’s clear from looking at Far Cry that this is a movie on a budget. Unfortunately there have been other video game movies with the same budget that looked much better, for instance the Resident Evil films. A 30 million dollar budget isn’t much for what should be a big action movie but there have been movies that prove that it can be done, Far Cry however is not one of them. The biggest thing about this movie is the cast. Til Schweiger plays Jack and while Schweiger is a fantastic actor I just have one problem; he is a German actor who speaks with a heavy German accent in the movie while in the game Jack was clearly very much American. This could just be me being nitpicky but Jack Carver is an American soldier and there is some emphasis to that it is just odd to have the part played with a heavy German accent. Other than that I thought Schweiger does a fantastic job with a script that is a complete shit show, especially next to the female lead. Emmanuelle Vaugier plays the female reporter and again she does a fine job but her and Schweiger have the most awkward scene randomly thrown in the middle of the movie. After he rescues her for the first time (of many) they spend a passion filled night together, as most action stars and heroines often do, and then the next scene is them just walking down a path nonchalantly, even though it’s an island full of people trying to kill them, and he asks her how he was the previous night. Are you freaking kidding me?! Who wrote this movie? To them I shake my finger.

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The villain is played by Udo Kier who does a pretty fantastic job as Dr. Krieger, the mad scientist creating the super soldiers. One of the main conflicts is that he has taken the reporters father as a test subject, which gives us our personal vendetta and it plays out in that cliché type of way you would expect it to. Udo Kier is a great choice for Dr. Krieger as the man just has an evil presence on screen and actually looks believable in a lab coat. The most annoying casting however comes from Chris Coppola who I have actually enjoyed in some movies but here just feels like an annoyingly needless sidekick for Jack in the latter half of the film. He’s an attempt at comedy relief in a movie that desperately doesn’t need any. Uwe Boll has made some really terrible films and if he left out the comic relief in movies like Far Cry then that would be a step in the right direction. While his attempts at humor can be mildly successful they just hinder a movie that already suffers from some stale plot points and low budget appearance. Far Cry also just has some really flat writing overall. The movie works as a fine B action movie but does little else to appeal to a wider audience.

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Far Cry, while being one of Uwe Boll’s better movies, is also one of his weirdest. This film was finished for a long time before it ever saw a release in the states and was originally only available in Germany even though the Far Cry games are forced into heavy editing there. Uwe Boll is also notable for shooting his movies overseas because of the production cost breaks and Far Cry was no different. The problem with that logic however is that if he was getting breaks on production then why does the movie look like it was still made on the cheap? Uwe Boll has made a career of making terrible video game movies and when he finally has it within his grasp to make a good one he once again drops the ball and turns out something, while not being a terrible movie, just falls far into mediocrity. Far Cry does do right by following the game story line and having a decent cast (which Uwe Boll has an odd talent for pulling in big names) but following the game story line isn’t enough to save this cheaply produced film.

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There is a great movie in the Far Cry franchise somewhere but we clearly won’t see it from Uwe Boll. I was very excited to know that there is interest in a film version of Far Cry and I hope that one day we can have another shot at a Far Cry movie with a more accomplished director and a bigger budget. While this movie isn’t terrible and is actually a mediocre watch, that’s really the best thing I can say about it. The Far Cry movie is a novelty for people who have a more than average interest in video game movies like I do and even though it’s a bad movie I can say that I was entertained while watching it and could actually recommend it to dire hard fans or people with an invested interest. I only warn you to manage your expectations and realize you are watching nothing more than an average B action movie.