Reviews February 21, 2017

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands: War Within the Cartel

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Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
Date: 02/21/17

One has to appreciate the “can’t give up” attitude from movie studios looking to produce films based on popular video games. Given the fact that most of them are critically and/or commercially inept at the box office, they are anything but a safe bet. Of course, that’s not the case for the video game publishers. They tend to have a unique perspective, where the idea is to promote future titles within a franchise over creating a hit film. It’s the reason why Microsoft made the Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn series free. It’s also why Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands has a live action prequel…

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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands: War Within the Cartel follows the exploits of Ricky Sandoval, an undercover DEA agent working for the Santa Blanca drug cartel. His task:  to find a way to dispatch the leaders of the Santa Blanca and ultimately freeing the people of Bolivia. Not the easiest job in the world given the nature of his assignment; American personal doesn’t have jurisdiction to move against the cartel (at least not in the open). Looking to avoid causing an international incident/start a war with the Bolivian Government, Ricky has to get creative. That creativity leads to a botched assassination attempt on Santa Blanca’s leaders.

War Within’s plot isn’t anything special on paper, let alone on the small screen. Malicious scowls, heavy accents, and labs full of half-naked women packaging drugs – we’ve seen this sort of thing before. As cliché as it was, the short film is somewhat entertaining. Most of the actors portrayed their characters well enough given the films short runtime of 30 minutes. Jose Rosete, who played the Santa Blanca’s ruthless head of security, only had enough time to be angry for instance. And while I wasn’t terribly invested in Ricky’s plight, D.J. Cotrona did a great job of bringing the character to life. Really, the only character I just couldn’t deal with was El Sueno, played by Esteban Cueto. I don’t know if Esteban’s lines were poorly written or if he was overacting but I couldn’t take his role seriously. He just sounded cheesy (and not in a good way).

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From a visual stand point, the film was pretty good. Legion of Creatives did a nice job with the special effects, sans the drone at the very beginning; the CGI clashed with the more practical elements. The same can be said about the sound department. Guns seemed powerful given the loud “thud” of bullets hitting flesh and the explosions warranted the bodies flying through the air. Basically, War Within sported quality production.

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All and all, War Within was what it was supposed to be, a free 30 minute marketing tool for the upcoming Ghost Recon Wildlands. It wasn’t particularly noteworthy, but it wasn’t horrible either. No one should expect it to be as good as a feature film released in theaters. Its success is measured by how well it sets up the game; it shouldn’t just attract the hardcore Ghost fans. Personally, as a fan, I’m mildly interested in seeing these characters in-game. It isn’t enough to compel the gamers on the fence to make a purchase though.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (the game) will be available on March 7th for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. As always, continue to follow us as we continue to cover this title!