Created by NCZ on Apr 28 2020
Beau Billingslea is a fantastic choice for Barret on paper. It's hard not to see him as the flipside of a certain big-bodied mercenary he's played... or the parallels to a certain other hot-headed muscleman he's played. Unfortunately, one of the Compilation's biggest letdowns is that Barret was almost entirely wasted, having nothing but a few short scenes in Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus, neither of which put him front and centre. This lack of a chance to strut his stuff is why if I'm being honest, his recast is one of the ones I most lament. While Steve, Rachael, and George got tons of chances to spread their wings, Beau never was able to really settle into his role as Barret, which is too bad considering what a natural choice he is. He got Barret's hardy demeanour down, and is a skilled and seasoned enough actor I have no doubt he could've handled Barret's pathos and his tragic friendship with Dyne, but he was just never able to.
With all that being said, John Eric Bentley brought the goods with an amazing, AMAZING performance. I don't say this lightly, but he might actually have been my single favourite performance in FFVII Remake. He was actually the hardest character for me to choose a clip for. I decided on a fantastic scene in Chapter 14, when he gets to have a raw, honest, and open talk with his daughter Marlene. On top of that, John excels at some great speeches by Barret that perfectly sell his righteous directives for Avalanche, and seamlessly handles comedy too. He effortlessly evolves his portrayal of Barret throughout the game as his relationship with Cloud changes - from a stern superior who's sometimes frustrated with him, to a hardened ally who mutually has his back.
I'm very sad that Beau didn't ever get the same great writing Barret had in Remake, but I proudly give John a thumb and a gun arm up.