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Mind-blowingly underwhelming celebrity performances

Underwhelming us with:Pierce Brosnan

For a while it seemed EA was obsessed with usurping Goldeneye from its status as best Bond game of all time. A silly conceit, many would argue, but that didn’t stop them. The most cynical and pointless attempt was 2004’s cynical and pointless (and crap) FPS Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, which shared nothing but a tenuously-justified title with Rare’s glorious predecessor. But a year before that, we got Everything or Nothing, a much better production which tried to be a whole new, interactive Bond movie.

It had Brosnan. It had Willem Dafoe as a new villain. It had Heidi Klum as a new Bond Girl. It even had Judy Dench and John Cleese, both of whom were brilliant. So what was the problem? Well Brosnan turned up, but he left his charisma and interest at home. And the monotone, bored-now-oh-look-what’s-over-there-it’s-a-shiny-thing Bond only served to highlight the stinking great monolith of cheese that was Willem Dafoe. By that point Brosnan’s films had jumped the arctic ice palace and whatever sharks may swim beneath, so Edam wasexactly the right directionfor Dafoe to take, but the contrast between the two leads was awkward indeed.

Underwhelming us with:David DuchovnyandGillian Anderson

X-Files fans have had a rough old time with games. First of all there was 1998’s The X-Files Game, made around the time the first movie was being filmed. It was an FMV-heavy “adventure” which due to the star’s schedules forced us to play a random agent searching down a missing Mulder and Scully.

But then in 2004 we got Resist or Serve. It was a shonky Resident Evil knock-off, but at least it allowed us to play as the show’s protagonists.With at least half of the success of The X-Filesupon its charismatic leads’ chemistry, surely we had something to look forward to in Duchovny and Anderson’s performances?

Erm no. Their shared scenes contained as much chemistry as a chemistry set that had had all the chemicals removed, giving its characters all the presence of two empty test tubes. Duchovny’s trademark sleepy delivery went full-on comatose and was not expected to survive the night, and Anderson’s stilted delivery made her sound like she was doing a first read-through for a high school play. More like the Zzzz-Files.

Underwhelming us with:Michael Madsen

The first True Crime was a thriving hub of good actors pumping out crap performances. Christopher Walken’s bad parody of Christopher Walken isalready the stuff of legend, but your attention should also be paid in full to Mr. Michael Madsen. Although usually a very relaxed actor and a natural bad guy, his performance as Rafferty is not only monotone, it’s the wrong tone.

It’s just the sheer, jovial earnestness of the whole thing. He’s so damn prim and polite throughout that he’s almost like a Stepford gangster, greeting every conversation and situation with the kind of wide-eyed pleasantness that just doesn’t sound right when you’re having your face repeatedly caved in. Even his unconvincing grunts of pain sound spliced in afterwards, and from the original Doom at that. In fact given the rivalry between True Crime and GTA at the time, and Madsen’s appearance in both series, we can’t help wonder if he was a Rockstar plant, sent to destroy the game’s plausibility from within.

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David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.