Mind-blowingly underwhelming celebrity performances

You know that games have nearly made it when big-name acting talent from cinema and TV signs up to get involved. We say "nearly" because games will only really have made it as an art form when said talent deigns to provide said games with the same degree of artistry it does on camera, rather than mumbling through its lines and buggering off quickly before the sandwich shop closes.

It's not always the talent's fault though. Sometimes the gap between our expectations and the reality comes from the way the game treats the performance, or how big an aspect of the overall production it turns out to be. We've got a few examples of each kind of disappointment here, but regardless of cause, they are all very, very disappointing indeed.

Halo 3: ODST

Underwhelming us with: Nathan Fillion and Tricia Helfer 

So, Bungie announced that Nathan Fillion and Tricia Helfer would be appearing, and lo the geeks did rejoice. And rightly so. Both are much-loved and very talented stars of stupendously good sci-fi shows and should be the video game casting equivalent of adding red pesto to an already tasty slice of cheese on toast. (what, you’ve never tried it?)


Fillion is obviously much-beloved for his natural and charismatic appearances in Firefly, Serenity, Slither and erm, White Noise 2. And if he doesn’t get cast as Nathan Drake in the rumoured Uncharted movie we’re going to burn down all of Hollywood just to make sure we get the guy responsible. Helfer put in a mind-blowingly layered and often mesmerising character performace in Battlestar Galactica (several in fact), and also looks really good in a small red dress. But in ODST, we got this:

Two bored-sounding read-throughs that had any residual hint of the two’s talents bludgeoned brutally to death by the flailing arms of Bungie’s ludicrously rubbery character animation. Bungie apparently licensed the actors’ likenesses as well. Apparently. Fillion’s model is alright, in a slightly-melted action figure kind of way, but Helfer’s face looks like it’s been carved out of a boiled potato with a blunt spoon.


Bionic Commando

Underwhelming us with: Mike Patton 

Never has a good voice been so wasted on unworthy material. It’s a fact accepted by all of a decent moral grounding that Mike Patton’s vocal chords are a supernatural treasure, gifted to us from on high; an inhuman, inverse Pandora’s box of noises, which produces sounds, music, characters and noises no mortal man should be able to create. He fronted Faith No More. He fronted Mr. Bungle. And Fantomas. And Tomahawk. And Peeping Tom. He did all the Infected voices in Left 4 Dead. He played The Darkness to a goddamn horrifying, guttural T. He’s made whole albums just using his voice.

So what did Grin do? They gave him a generic gruff-voiced space marine character to voice in a generic gruff-voiced space marine voice. And they gave him lines that weren’t even written in sentences.

 We weep. We genuinely weep. 

Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

Underwhelming us with: Billy Dee Williams 

When you think of Billy Dee Williams, you think of the smoothest motherf*cker in the world. A man so cool and slick you could ice-skate on his face and use a distilled form of his aura to grease overheating factory machinery. He was Lando Calrissian. He was the original cinematic Harvey Dent. You know he’s awesome, we know he’s awesome, and Family Guy certainly knows he’s awesome:

And knowing that the Command & Conquer series thrives on its superbly cheesy acting, Billy Dee’s appearance in Tiberium Wars should have been the most outrageously smooth thing since Prince fell into a barrel of crude and then stumbled out in front of a steamroller (seriously, it happened).

But instead it was like watching a black Bill Shatner come up on acid after eating a pound and a half of cocaine and washing it down with espresso. Bloody fantastic in its own way of course, but certainly not what it could have been.


  • mrmorozov987 - July 15, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    I'm surprised Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker isn't here. As a matter of fact, everyone in Spider-Man 3 should be here. (except J. Jonah Jameson, he was awesome)
  • lewis42025 - October 13, 2009 5:06 p.m.

    great article btw, and you guys should so watch the whole true crime video in the article. it's soooo worth it
  • lewis42025 - October 13, 2009 5:03 p.m.

    lol!!! HOOOOOLY BAHJEEZUS! that mad me laugh so hard!
  • Doomwaffle - October 12, 2009 1:43 p.m.

    You guys know that basically half of Firefly's cast was in ODST?
  • bl00dyvalen7ine - October 12, 2009 7:21 a.m.

    OMG WET had a HORRIBLE ending...
  • Blinder - October 12, 2009 1:21 a.m.

    Fun fact, Nathan Fillion is a gamer and plays Halo with Alan Tudyk,
  • linkganon - October 10, 2009 5:50 a.m.

    I have to mention, that every single person who had a voice act on need for speed undercover sucked. the wii version is extremely short, go for pc one if anything. now i have to laugh at whoever voiced acted raiden on sons of liberty since he seemed lazy and bored at some points in time. every question he asked, it seemed like he was like whatever, and at other times, he did well. he needs at least to be mentioned.
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - October 9, 2009 11:05 p.m.

    I love oblivion so much. Too bad i only heard 10 different voices in the whole game. Nice artical.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - October 9, 2009 2:39 p.m.

    I'm with you on the soundtrack. Between the smokey, jazzy Vangelis-style tunes and the Tron-vision of the VISR, it's like being in '80s sci-fi movie heaven.
  • SausageLozenge - October 9, 2009 2:13 p.m.

    Even as a Halo nerd, I have to agree. ODST cutscenes were meh. Martin O'Donnell makes up for it with a brilliant score. hopefully we see a big technical jump between Halo 3's engine and the Halo: Reach engine like we did with Halo 1 to 2.
  • Arch27 - October 9, 2009 1:36 p.m.

    I thought McDowell did fine. I imagine he's supposed to be a sociopath. I find much worse things to nit-pick about in that Wet video. Note the clipping issues with the sword in the scabbard as Rubi punches the other chick (2:26).
  • GR_DavidHoughton - October 9, 2009 11:07 a.m.

    Don't worry, we couldn't forget Walken's spectacular example of vocal gurning. There's a link to the vid in the True Crime entry. Click and enjoy. :)
  • FistfulofPelican - October 9, 2009 9:09 a.m.

    Woah! No Christopher Walken?
  • TanookiMan - October 9, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    "Their shared scenes contained as much chemistry as a chemistry set that had had all the chemicals removed" for some reason, I thought this was really really funny
  • GMAN2 - October 9, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    Wow, Charlie's Angels and Bionic Commando were the worst
  • LOUDcarBOMB - October 9, 2009 12:40 a.m.

    What about Fallout 3? Liam Neeson? HE played in many movies, like Batman Begins, Star Wars Ep. I (Qui-Gon-Jin), Chronicles of Narnia ( :P ).
  • Ninja-KiLLR - October 9, 2009 12:13 a.m.

    cool side of the pillow. lol family guy is the greatest
  • trekkie2882 - October 8, 2009 11:57 p.m.

    i love patrick stewart! come on TNG is the greatest show ever made. also charlies angels the game. do you have anything good to say about it? i am going to buy that game at a used store for 5 dollars just to see how bad it is.
  • farsided - October 8, 2009 11:47 p.m.

    wtf is with all the recent halo hate on here? first it was their commercials, and now it's the voice acting in ODST? If you ask me, the voice acting in ODST was FAR superior to the voice acting in the first 3 Halo games. Lazy? Bullshit. There was plenty of emotion in their voices throughout, and when I was playing, I absolutely felt the characters to be believable. Hell, at least they didn't sound like "grizzled space marines". Seriously, what are you asking for? Overacting? If these games wanted that, they would have hired stage performers (movie acting being much more subtle while stage acting is very flamboyant). While I agree with the rest of the article, you guys at GR desperately need to get that giant stick called "bungie" out of your ass before it continues to ruin any more of your article. It's just cheap, unoriginal garbage that I thought was purely reserved for the comment section of N4G. Nathan and Tricia both nailed it.
  • skynetiscoming - October 8, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    I got like 20 seconds into that WET fight scene and turned it off it was so damn boring. And great article.

Showing 1-20 of 31 comments

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