A new 'Borderlands' movie teaser just arrived — and it has me seriously worried

Lilith (Cate Blanchett), Tiny Tina (Arian Greenblatt), Roland (Kevin Hart), Krieg (Florian Munteanu), Tannis (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Claptrap (voiced by Jack Black) looking down a manhole in the "Borderlands" movie
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

That first “Borderlands” clip has me seriously concerned that Lionsgate’s upcoming video game adaptation will be anything but blockbuster fun.  

We’ve already had several top-tier shows prove that you can turn huge gaming franchises into great entertainment — things like “Fallout”, “Arcane”, “Castlevania” and “The Last Of Us” spring to mind. 

While I know you shouldn’t really judge a book by its cover (or in this instance, a one-minute teaser), this new look clip (released during IGN Live 2024) indicates that Eli Roth’s “Borderlands” movie isn’t going to be part of that same tier. 

If you’ve yet to see it, the new teaser sees our band of Vault Hunters taking a beat inside some sort of warehouse while Claptrap (voiced by Jack Black) “expels excess lead”. The noise attracts the attention of a group of bandits, and a firefight ensues as the group makes their escape.

It’s a one-minute snapshot from the movie that wants to sell Eli Roth's “Borderlands” as a lively action blockbuster… but it does practically the opposite. That’s because, minus the satisfying thud of Lilith booting a bandit into a crate as things kick off, the on-screen action lacks any real impact. The clip is embedded below, so you can see whether you agree with me.

Our Vault Hunters' attackers are barely on screen and tumble to the ground without any real gore, meaning the weapons lack weight. The melee plays out at a sluggish pace, one which isn't helped by the fact that there’s time for a bit of mid-fight banter as Tannis snags Roland’s sidearm. There's just no momentum or sense of danger here, which is fundamentally at odds with what Borderlands is. 

Players will know the alien world, Pandora, to be a chaotic, violent, and unforgiving planet, home to danger around every corner. But this scene from the Lionsgate adaptation lacks that same sense of jeopardy. It might have earned a more marketable PG-13 rating, but this feels like Borderlands by way of Marvel's scrappy sci-fi gangs.

There's just no momentum or sense of danger here, which is fundamentally at odds with what Borderlands is.

There's already been a ton of discussion about the "Borderlands" cast among fans, and I don't really want to retread that ground too much. You can't get a big read on most of the cast in such a short space of time. But Kevin Hart certainly doesn't feel like a natural fit for Roland here. Cate Blanchett's Lilith is clearly capable in a scrap, but it would be nice to see some of her character's Phasewalking powers here, too. 

I get that it would likely be way too expensive to have the characters trotting out their Action Skills every five seconds or having the production team draw up all 87 bazillion guns, but this feels like a warehouse that could've happened in a hundred action movies. The only thing that screams Borderlands is the costume work, and that just doesn't feel good enough for a promotional teaser designed to sell this as a successful adaptation. 

As a final note, I sincerely hope that the movie hasn't only drawn on the franchise's "so random" sense of humor. Borderlands' writing is out there and not for everyone, but it can be excellent (looking at you, Tales From the Borderlands). Hopefully, the irreverent tone will go a little further than just having Claptrap relieve itself, or the gross-out bit about "Piss-Wash Gully" from the official "Borderlands" trailer. 

I really hope that the “Borderlands” movie proves me wrong and that this was just a poor choice for a promotional teaser. The earlier trailer certainly suggests the full movie contains more of the franchise's unique flair and could still contain some fun setpieces when it hits theaters on August 9. But after this clip, I'm certainly less confident that “Borderlands” will be a must-see summer flick.

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Staff Writer, Streaming

Martin is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, covering all things movies and TV. If it’s in the theaters or available to stream somewhere, he’s probably watched it… especially if it has a dragon in it. Before joining the team, he was a Staff Writer at What To Watch where he wrote about a broad range of shows that stretched from "Doctor Who" and "The Witcher" to "Bridgerton" and "Love Island". When he’s not watching the next must-see movie or show, he’s probably still in front of a screen playing massive RPGs, reading, spending a fortune on TCGs, or watching the NFL.

  • darksideb18
    Man there's so many things wrong with this trailer when it comes to timeline continuity. Krieg and Roland for one wouldn't be working together. Also why is Lilith using a flame thrower, she's a siren that creates her own fire. She's known as the Phoenix. This movie looks severely lacking on CGI and it should have a chunk of it. I mean the ridiculous guns in the game are what makes this game so fun.