Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Adventures in WTF?! - Casting Dr. Uwe Boll's Far Cry

Is there anyone working in movies today who inspires as much joy as Dr. Uwe Boll? I might be crazy about Michael Mann, I may think Brad Bird is a master who doesn't get enough praise, and I will happily rave about David Fincher until I pass out from lack of inhaling, but they themselves, though fine men, won't ever do anything as entertaining as this.

Though the Michael Bay comment makes me cry a bit, Dr. Boll delivers again. He needs to keep making movies just so he can keep getting pissed about the criticisms. Whenever he does he always reacts in the most entertaining ways. I'll even watch Postal, seeing as he thinks this is the movie he will be remembered for. I'm interested to see what he cooks up. Seriously! I'll give anyone a chance. Or five.

I'm particularly happy with his casting for his adaptation of Far Cry. The game was okay, a better than average FPS that got wildly overpraised on release (though I will grant that the PC version might be more fun than the Xbox transfer). Though I'm not totally crazy about it, it held my attention for a few hours, and can be adapted into a standard action plot very well. If you've not played it, it's best summed up as Commando meets The Island of Doctor Moreau, though sadly that doesn't mean it features cameos from Vernon Wells in chainmail or Val Kilmer impersonating Marlon Brando. You just run around with special powers, slashing bad guys up and driving jeeps over exploding bridges. As I say, fun, but nothing mindblowing.

Unlike Dr. Boll's new movie adaptation, I'm sure. The casting is mostly predictable; it features Boll regulars Michael Paré, Chris Coppola, Carrie Genzel, Ralf Moeller, and many other Canadian actors who, from a quick check of their IMDb pages, seem to appear in lots of the same stuff together. Nevertheless, it does seem that he has managed to create a little repertory of actors who are willing to appear in his movies, which, in a way, means he has a lot more in common with Preston Sturges than one might have believed possible (Dr. Boll, if you ever read this, you are free to quote me comparing you to Preston Sturges). That's all well and good, but the one bit of casting that amazed me the most was an appearance by famed cantankerous chef Anthony Bourdain as a scientist. I was so confuzzled by this, but thankfully this YouTube clip clears it all up.

Shades of Caruso approves! Bourdain has occasionally annoyed us in the past, but for his wonderfully entertaining book Kitchen Confidential, his highly recommended (by Canyon; I've yet to read it) Salon article about the bombing of Lebanon, and for the unbelievably great steak we ate at Les Halles last year, he has more than earned our admiration and overshadowed any minor doubts we have had about him. I mean it, that steak was magnificent. Even though that clip shows Bourdain's ultimate fate within the movie, I'm still weirdly psyched about it. That doesn't mean I'm ready to face Dr. Boll's fantasy epic In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: Search For The Sword of Budnork: Adventures Into Adventure: DragonFable IV: Into The Dungeon Of Despair: ChivalryQuest Of Honour or whatever the hell the title is, though. Sorry, Doc.

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