Our second look at the Borderlands movie starts with Claptrap pooping bullets and goes downhill from there

Borderlands movie characters sitting in a car
(Image credit: Gearbox)

I don't know who out there was excited for the Borderlands movie, but boy howdy, this is a rough one. After a so-so first trailer in February, a new preview clip at IGN's summer showcase stunned me with a kind of charisma void that's actually impressive in its own way.

I'm pretty neutral on Borderlands overall. I played a lot of Borderlands 2 back in the day, like a lot of people⁠—you know, back when a movie tie-in would have made more sense. But with its colorful, deformed art, abundance of lore, and established voice actors for various characters, wouldn't an animated adaptation a la Arcane or Cyberpunk Edgerunners have made more sense as a first stop? It certainly would have been cheaper than paying actors like Tilda Swinton, Jaimie Lee Curtis, and Jack Black (special guest starring as Claptrap!) to debase themselves like this.

The new excerpt begins with Jack Blacktrap crapping out bullets in an extended bit about indigestion while the other characters watch. This unfortunately catches the attention of a bunch of Fury Road-looking guys in gas masks, and the scene devolves into one of those mushy, substance and craft-free action sequences that makes you feel nothing, all set in a dimly-lit warehouse that looks like it could be in Hoboken.

The first trailer from a few months ago, meanwhile, is classic rock, quips, and bad cosplay all the way down, the kind of "Guardians of the Galaxy with the serial numbers filed off" that could have at least been timely 10 years ago. Whatever is going on here feels like the anti-Dungeons & Dragons movie, an unpleasant surprise to the same extent Honor Among Thieves was a delightful one. Maybe it's a collective karmic punishment for a cash-in that absurdly good being a dud at the box office, like Adam Sandler threatening to make a movie "so bad on purpose" for getting snubbed at the Oscars for Uncut Gems.

You'll be able to make your own final judgement on the Borderlands movie when it releases on August 9.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.