There is every indication that it will. For those who haven’t played the games (2009-19), they are first-person shooters set on the planet of Pandora, in which you play a looter tasked with finding the mysterious Vault. The setting is inherently cinematic: big desert-like landscapes with futuristic but shabby tech. Think Mad Max. What distinguishes Borderlands from other open world games, though, is its comic book aesthetic: lots of bright colours and creative character designs. There will be lots for the designers to play with in the film version.
The difficulty, as with all video game adaptations, will be condensing a story that takes dozens of hours to play out in the game to just two. Producers Avi and Ari Arad and Erik Feig have done well, then, to hire screenwriter Craig Mazin, the hottest writer in the business after his exceptional work on the miniseries Chernobyl (2019); Mazin is also currently adapting The Last of Us (2013, 2020). If, as has been reported, it is true that Mazin and co-writer Aaron Berg have departed quite radically from the games’ narrative, then that is encouraging. Fidelity rarely seems to work when it comes to video game adaptations.
The only reason I am demurring from wholeheartedly endorsing this project is its director
There are few details as to what that story will be, though. All we really know is that Cate Blanchett is to play lead character and famous thief Lilith, Kevin Hart is to play a soldier called Roland, Jamie Lee Curtis the archaeologist Tannis and – in what has got fans most excited – Jack Black is to play wisecracking robot-sidekick Claptrap. It is a pretty astonishing cast, and the fact that such heavy hitters have signed on the dotted line suggests that there really must be a good script behind it all (or that they’re getting paid a shedload of cash). That the film will be R-rated, and not a watered-down PG-13, is also a good sign.
The only reason I am demurring from wholeheartedly endorsing this project is its director. When was the last time Eli Roth directed a good film? I can tell you. It was 2002. Since then, Roth has cemented his reputation as a maestro of schlocky horror, only deviating from that norm in 2018 when he made the (distinctly average) children's film, The House with the Clock in Its Walls, also starring Black and Blanchett.
Still, I know Roth is a big fan of video games, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will do justice to Borderlands. We’ll see. With filming due to start in Hungary in the spring, I daresay we will see the film sometime in 2022.