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News broke that despite a Twitter campaign and many no-life Whedon fans vying to help Fillion’s career jumpstart with him taking the starring role in the Uncharted movie, it was a no-go. The Serenity star lost out in fulfilling the role of Nathan Drake in the upcoming game-based movie of the PS3 exclusive, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Instead, Mark Wahlberg will be reprising the role of a video game character, despite completely flopping already with a character that most people thought you couldn’t really mess up on the big screen. It’s too bad Fillion was passed on because he really does seem to have the charm, depth, characteristics and actual acting chops to play someone like Nathan in a silver screen adaptation of the Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider action-hybrid.
Nevertheless, there’s very little hope that the Uncharted movie won’t suck and there’s even less hope with Wahlberg being in the lead role, and here’s a few reasons why.
For one thing, Wahlberg doesn’t look like a charming, nice, friendly guy. Heck, maybe he is or maybe he isn’t but he always looks like he just stepped out of a room with a bunch of sweaty, smelly guys who forgot to shower and then he decided to eat a spoiled pickle to sweeten the mood. In other words, Wahlberg always looks pissed. So why on earth is he playing a guy who’s trying to get away from the pickle-faced, sour-mood, pissed-off pirates that Wahlberg would be better suited playing? The thing is, Fillion would have been perfect for the lead role because he looks like the guy trying to stay out of the way of the pirate with a pickle-face. That’s sort of a necessary trait for Nathan Drake because, after all, he was supposed to be the unlikely action-hero who isn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson or Sylvester Stallone. I’m sorry to say but Wahlberg is the pissed off action hero who looks like a pissed off action hero. Drake is the tough guy who gets going when the bullspit hits the fan; Wahlberg is the guy who kicks the spit back into the face of the guy who threw it on the fan. See how how it all just falls apart?
Reason number two: With Wahlberg in the role of Nathan Drake there’s going to be that nagging inclination that for the third game Nathan may have to take on the looks or personality of Marky-Mark. You know how Lara Croft had a few “realistic” makeovers to embody aspects of Angelina Jolie after the Tomb Raider movies? Yeah, we really don’t need that happening with Uncharted. It’s going to be torture enough seeing Mark butcher lines and try to pretend to be a nice, “good” guy. Remember how that worked out in M. Night's The Happening? Blame Mr. Night all you want but it was Mark up there on the screen, butchering lines and being all ham-fisted with the acting.
Let’s be honest, there’s really no good to come out of this movie for Wahlberg. He’s already a superstar. Is it his life’s goal to ruin video game franchises by playing lead characters people don’t expect him to fully realize? Really? We all had high hopes that he could have brought respect to the gaming genre by embodying one of gaming’s most complex characters in Remedy’s highly praised Max Payne series. Unfortunately, the former leader of the Funky Bunch decided to one-note his way through the movie as if he was given acting instructions from a cardboard cut-out of a director and then decided he was just going to wing it the rest of the way for the money. Maybe it was also to prove to some douche-bags that video games are just bad imitations of art with a lot of shoot-e’m-up, bang-bang moments and little or nothing else to them. Nevertheless, if Max Payne: The Movie was Mark’s interpretation of a guy brooding after losing his family, hooked on painkillers and struggling with the death of his best friend all while wrapped up in a conspiracy to suppress a new, volatile drug, then I’m truly convinced he either a.) didn’t understand the character or b.) really does want to ruin video games by playing lead characters in the worst way imaginable in pitiful game-to-movie adaptations. If he's not careful his career could go the way of Mark Dacoscos after he did the movie Double Dragon. Everyone who asks "Who's Mark Dacascos?" you just proved my point.
The final reason isn’t really a look at how Walhberg would so much mess up the franchise as it is a missed opportunity to actually excel the franchise outside of being a fanboy fan-favorite PS3 game and a subsequently sub-par movie (because let’s face it, there’s no way this movie is going to be good). With Fillion playing Nathan Drake we could have finally seen the guy excel at what he does best: playing the go-getter that never quite gets it. In a way, Nathan Fillion’s career is almost an ideal representation of what Nathan Drake is fighting for (and chasing) in the game: A little part of self lost amidst the great adventure of life. The problem is that Walhberg is basking in a full career, and unless the director takes him aside and gives him a good lashing (which I doubt he will, given that Walhberg looks like he eats dumbbells for breakfast) we’ll just see another sub-par outing from the former dancer/rapper-turned-actor that won’t do much for his career and will leave a foul feeling inside the minds of gamers for the rest of their lives. So Mark Walhberg, you really have to ask yourself, do you really want to ruin gamers lives and a franchise that didn’t do anything to you? Really? Do you? Let’s hope the answer is ‘no’.