Sony has signed up David O. Russell to help helm an adaptation of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, the popular PS3 video game. So far, the batting average with video game movies is exceptionally low. Silent Hill made for an interesting horror film, I thought Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil were passable, but after that there’s films like Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter (either), Max Payne, Hitman, Doom, and much of Uwe Boll’s filmography.
Perhaps what the genre needs is a class act like Russell to actually tell a story. Unfortunately the narratives of the Uncharted games are basically Indiana Jones movies
redressed for button mashing. There’s a hidden treasure that might have
supernatural powers, Drake’s got love interests, some of whom might be
evil, and there’s a gruff, wisecracking sidekick. Basically, you run around and shoot
people and then every once in a while try to find stuff. So, on one hand
Russell’s got a name and a theme that’s fairly generic, on the other
hand as long as there’s a wisecracking lead guy, he has free reign to
turn this into something along the lines of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or something along the lines of High Road to China.
is troubling about this is that David O. Russell was – for a while
there – one of the most exciting and daring directors attempting to work
within the mainstream. It takes a lot of balls to make a comedy out of a
search for a philosophy, and David O. Russell has them. He’s the sort of
guy who gets into a screaming match with George Clooney, or yells at
Lilly Tomlin. He’s not afraid of being the bad guy to get his art. And
when you create films like Three Kings and I <3 Huckabees,
maybe being a dick is worth it. But also, those films didn’t make a lot
of money, and both are unlucky for coming out in two of the richest
years in recent cinema.
Of course, the big tell on the man’s future will be his upcoming picture The Fighter.
It looks very much like an “I want an Oscar” movie, something better
left for someone like Ron Howard. The Fighter seemed to come about because
Russell needed to play ball after the financing on his last film (Nailed)
fell apart during shooting. The industry is going through some perilous
times, and it’s not a bad idea for someone like Russell to chase Christopher Nolan’s success by attaching himself to a franchise and doing a
“one for me, one for them.” Or at least that’s the best sort of outcome on a project
like this. The other answer is that Russell may have just given up the
ghost, and is happy to spend the rest of his career churning out
respectable crap. I favor that he’s going to try and smuggle, but this
probably says more about the state of modestly budgeted movies than