I am a movie buff. I am not, however, a big gamer. So what happens when a movie buff watches a video game movie? It would seem much the same as when non-book readers watch book to film adaptations.
These are probably not the absolute worst video game adaptations. Heck, a quick search shows that Dead or Alive tops many people’s list, and yet, it’s not here. Why? It’s very simple: Because I haven’t seen it.
The films that made this list I’ve seen within the last few years, a few years before that, and digging deep into my childhood memories. The films that made this list I watched, not because of a love for the video game source material, but because it sparked my interest as a movie.
Take this all with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. Goodness knows you had to do the same in order to get through most of these movies.
Already I can hear gamers and movie lovers everywhere screeching. Say what you want but this author likes the Resident Evil films. Yes, films plural. Call it a guilty pleasure or call it insanity but I don’t think they’re that bad. Having only played one game for 10 minutes a long time ago, I have nothing to compare the movies to. If I was more familiar with the games, perhaps my opinion would be different.
Sometimes you just want a violent action movie and that’s what you get (with zombies on top). They’re not masterpieces, nor are they particularly original. They’re not the best action movies, nor are they the best zombie movies. They are rather cheesy and over the top, but despite it all, I still get a kick out of them.
Okay so Snowpiercer isn’t technically, legitimately, or definitively based on a video game, but it might as well be. The resemblances to Bioshock are just as strong as the rest of the adaptations on this list (whether that says more about this movie or the rest of the movies here is your opinion).
Snowpiercer is not a guilty pleasure. It’s actually an incredible film. It has an all star cast, a story that is simple to follow but with enough subtext and depth that it isn’t banal, and striking visuals. There aren’t enough good things to say about this movie, so let’s not waste time with more descriptions, just go watch it.
‘Prince of Persia’
If you went into this movie expecting more than what you got, you’ve only yourself to blame. First of all it’s Disney; the action sequences were only ever going to be ‘fun’ and kid-friendly, you were never going to get gore. Secondly, Jerry Bruckheimer produced it. Now does it all make sense?
While ultimately forgettable (actually though, I’d forgotten I’d seen it until I watched the trailer, then it came flooding back), it isn’t that awful of a movie. It’s a fun 2 hours, great for when you need to sit back and let your mind relax. Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton are good actors and good eye candy, and Ben Kingsley’s presence always elevates a film’s standards.
Could it have been better under a different studio? Maybe. It certainly would’ve had more leeway for violence. But as video game movies go, it really isn’t terrible.
‘Mortal Kombat: Annihilation’
My memories of Mortal Kombat are memories of bonding time with my brother. We played the game on Nintendo 64 and watched the movies together. It was one of my favorite games, and my childlike mind also remembers loving the movies. I was under 10 years old when I watched them, so it’s safe to say my perception of ‘good’ films wasn’t exactly in tuned yet. Nevertheless, as a kid I still knew the second Mortal Kombat just didn’t live up to the first, even if I couldn’t tell you why.
Back in the day when people left their house to rent a movie from a video store, I wouldn’t pick up both films as much as I’d pick up the first. Nor would I sit through the second all the way to the end each time. Maybe you could say a child under 10 doesn’t have the patience to sit through any two movies in a row, but I’d say you’d be wrong. This is the same child who sat through 90 minutes of My Little Pony, on repeat.
Maybe if I watched it back now I’d put it in The Worst category, but the nostalgia is strong with this one, so for now it stays as just Bad.
It was entertaining!
Like the rest of the planet, I too hate 3D films, but I enjoyed the 3D in Tron Legacy. It just worked with the film’s digital environment. In fact, the visuals are probably the only thing that can get you through this film, but it’s enough. If you think the light bikes aren’t cool, you’re lying.
Is there a strong story? No. Are there engaging characters? No. But if you just sit back and enjoy the lasers and music (let’s not forget how great Daft Punk’s score was) it’s fun.
‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’
For me, Tomb Raider makes the worst list because I barely remember anything about it. Sure, there are some moments hazily floating around my brain, but nothing concrete. I’m not even entirely sure if the vague memories I have are from Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, or National Treasure.
Had I seen Prince of Persia as long ago as Tomb Raider, it’s possible it could’ve been in The Worst for the same reasons. But as it stands, the most I can say is that I think Angelina Jolie was a good Lara Croft, Tomb Raider was probably a formulaically forgettable action romp, and I wonder when Jorah decided to ditch the Illuminati in favor of dragons.
Silent Hill: Revelation’
I didn’t hate the first Silent Hill. I certainly didn’t love it, but it was creepy enough, and a decent enough story to keep me entertained. When it came to part 2, I had no interest in watching. In all honesty, the only reason I bothered was for Kit Harington, and even his face wasn’t enough to get me through it.
Talk about cringe-worthy. This movie had issues from start to finish. The dialogue was poor, the story was lacking, it wasn’t that creepy, and had cheap scare tactics. You could go on and on about this film. Suffice it to say it’s dead boring and not worth a watch.
‘Super Mario Bros’
To be honest, I don’t remember watching this movie. According to my mother I watched it when I was a kid and got bored. From what I can tell, I didn’t miss out on much. Those who do remember it probably wish they’d blocked it from their mind.
What are your favorite and least favorite video game movies?
Related: Best Mortal Kombat movie quotes