The rule of thumb is that any piece of cinematic or televisual storytelling based upon a video game is destined to be not good, if not terrible. The list is endless, from the awful Super Mario Bros to damp squibs like Tomb Raider and its even more mindless sequel.
I will admit to a strange love of both the Resident Evil games and the movies loosely based on them in all their dog-kicking, Milla Jovovichian kookiness, but such a love is independent of each other, and if the latter was not called Resident Evil but, I dunno, Outpatient Nogoodnik, I would love their dog-kicking Milla Jovovichian tales as much.
But we talk not of dog kicking nor Milla Jovovich today, though she appears to have competition in the form of Danielle Rayne, star of Daniel Trachtenberg’s fan-film based on Valve’s excellent Portal games, titled No Escape.
Not only is Portal: No Escape completely faithful as an adaptation of the source, but is a strong science fiction short film on its own. You don’t need to have even heard of Portal before seeing this, though fans of that game (and of its cousin Half-Life 2 will be richly rewarded.
Expertly paced, deftly written, No Escape manages to be head and shoulders above most internet shorts as both a satisfying tale, as well as a tantalizing glimpse at what may be. Trachtenberg’s film is pretty-much perfect, and though short films aren’t quite the same as features, it breaks the rule of bad video game films.