For years now, we've all complained about the lack of decent video game movies. And while it's not like we really need a good video game movie, it certainly feels – speaking as a video game enthusiast – that Hollywood owes us one after a non-stop deluge of crap, Silent Hill: Revelation being the most recent example, spiked every half a decade or so with mildly entertaining mediocrity like the Mortal Kombat and the original Silent Hill movie, has sullied audiences on the genre. So the today's news that Tom Hardy, one of the most lauded young actors of his generation, has signed on to play Sam Fisher in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell seems like particularly encouraging news.
Or does it? Tom Hardy may be a powerhouse acting talent in indies like Bronson and Warrior, but his efforts to break into mainstream stardom have been decidedly less memorable. The Dark Knight Rises notwithstanding (since working with Christopher Nolan is one of the great cinematic no-brainers these days), his attachment to duds like This Means War and Lawless would seem to indicate that he doesn't have the best taste in popular entertainment, not that the minimal impact those films had on the culture could be blamed on his consistently strong performances.
What we're getting at here is that the news, which came from Variety, that Tom Hardy will headline a Splinter Cell adaptation should not be taken as a victory just yet. A good sign, certainly, since if nothing else we're likely to get one of the best lead performances thus far from a video game adaptation, but not a guaranteed slam dunk of awesomeness in every department. Right now the film, based on the series of video games about stealth operative Sam Fisher, whose first adventure found him uncovering a political conspiracy in the country of Georgia, has no director attached. Perhaps the presence of Tom Hardy will attract some A-list talent for a change.
The screenwriter attached to the project is also encouraging: Eric Warren Singer was the writer of the underrated Tom Tykwer thriller The International, and is also attached to an as-yet-untitled film about the 1970s FBI sting operation ABSCAM, which led to multiple convictions within the U.S. government for political corruption. That film is set to be directed by David O. Russell, whose most recent film, Silver Linings Playbook, opens this weekend.
Tom Hardy will be taking over the role of Sam Fisher from character actor Michael Ironside, who voiced the role in the first six video games in the franchise.
Follow William Bibbiani on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.