21 Video Games That Were Made Into Movies

21 Games That Were Made Into Movies
The GamersDecide.com editors enjoy a night out

You can’t judge a Video Game Movie by the money it made at the Box Office.

If you did, then 2001’s Tomb Raider would be at the top of that list. And Angelina Jolie’s 2001 attempt is not a good film.

But then most Games that end up as movies are awful. From the last years of the twentieth century to the dozens of games currently being turned into movies, Hollywood’s attempt to turn pixels into $$$$ has been quite frankly painful and embarrassing for us gamers. But let’s go and stick forks in our eyeballs anyway and make our way through most of the games that have had shamelessly terrible adaptations of them made.

Here’s the list in reverse order from gut churningly, rotten meat smelling, burning plastic Barbie awful, to well, watchable. Maybe?

But where to start…

Criteria for entry:

Only one film from a series: Otherwise we’ll be caught up in Resident Evil and Tomb Raider sequels.

○Films must have had a theatrical release.

○Highest grossing movies don’t affect rankings.

○Biggest potential mixed with biggest disappointment is a factor.

And. Here. We. Go.

21. Alone in the Dark. (2005)

Starring: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff

I would rather have spent 90 minutes alone in the dark than watch this s***  (Image via www.impawards.com)

Alone in the Dark was directed by Uwe Boll. (Look out for this name, he will show up again, and again in this list. He is the Anti-Christ of game adaptation directors.

There are no adjectives currently available in the Lexicon of any language in the world to describe how f****** awful this video game adaptation is. Christian Slater is the laughable star of this terrible suspense feature. He plays some sort of ghost hunting detective called Edward Carnby. Once, many people thought Slater had a career ahead of him as an actor. After appearing in some decent movies in his youth such as Young Guns II, The Name of the Rose, Broken Arrow, True Romance, and Heathers, many people thought Slater had a very promising career ahead of him making movies. 

Alone in the Dark proves that is possible to fall further than rock bottom. Alone in the Dark put the nail in Slater’s coffin forever. 

"No my agent, somebody call my agent. I have to stop this film being made."

The film also had Tara Reid in it; Reid’s performance is even worse than Slater’s. It was like she already knew she had no real future as an actor and had already given up. It was either that or drugs. Admittedly, she does look good in this film, but that’s not a reason to watch it.

Billed as some sort of Sci-fi-Horror-Action-Hellish-Something-or-other, it  averages a pretty remarkable 1.7% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Personally that seems quite generous to me. This movie is funny for all the wrong reasons.

20. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)

Starring: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan, and that one from the Black Eyed Peas whose name no one can ever remember.

It starts well, and the opening credits are a joy to sit through.

The legend of Chun-Li is a movie first in that it seemingly managed to bend time and space and disappear from the collective mind of humanity in one fell swoop. Chun-Li moves to San Francisco and then must battle against the in game characters we know so well to avenge her father’s death at the hands of the evil M. Bison. 

Too late, Chun-Li, realises the importance of a script and cohesive dialogue in a movie

It’s not great; but it’s not the worst, and the fights are pretty good. It’s the bits in between the fights that suck. Kristin Kreuk at least has a purple belt in real life Karate, so she looks like she can fight in the film. She also played Lana Lang in Smallville. (Ah yeah, that’s who she is!) The most telling commentary I could find on the film was this line from Giantbomb.com, who stated that SFTLOCL was ‘a reinvisioning by people who can't see.’ Lolz.

19. Wing Commander (1999)

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr. (Miscast), Saffron Burrows.

With: Some notable heavyweights, seriously: David Suchet, Jurgen Prochnow, and David Warner.

All these good actors and yet still the movie sucked (image via deviantart.net)

Wing Commander should have been a good movie. It was made by the same guy who had made the original games. It was a work of love and it should have been awesome. With a game universe as diverse and deep as it was long, all he had to do was replace the best parts of the games with real actors, and film it. That was it. But rather than lifting the script wholesale from the games and creating the truly epic Space Opera the fans all wanted, instead he made one of the most miscast films of the modern era. Somehow the director, Chris Roberts, thought it would be a good idea to cast the man who would later play ‘Fred’ in the Scooby Doo movie.

Instead of making a kickass intelligent action flick like he should have done, Roberts instead decided to make a film that spent most of the time extrapolating endlessly and framing shots of Prinze Jr. looking wide eyed like a rabbit caught in the headlights. But there were one or two bright spots in the movie. Saffron Burrows was convincing as ‘Wing Commander Deveraux,’ right up until the point where she fell in love with Prinze Jr. At that point she blew what little credibility she had in this film. 

That said, the parts of the film without any actors in them are quite good. Especially the battle in the asteroid belt between the human and alien capital ships. That’s actually very well done, possibly even better, or as good as, I might argue as anything 2004-2009’s Battlestar Galactica had to offer. Unfortunately, it does not stop the rest of the movie being absolutely diabolical. It scores an average 10% from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

18. Blood Rayne (2005)

Starring: Kristanna Loken, Michael Madsen                                                                                  

With: Ben Kingsley, Meat Loaf.

She's quite believable as a vampire, actually (image via http://hex1a4.net/wallpapers)

Directed by: Uwe Boll. (We are beginning to see a link here.

Don’t watch the film. Go find the game and play it. It’s not that the film is all that  bad, it’s just that there’s nothing is all that good about it, which is a shame, because it feels like it had potential. You’ll come away from it thinking, ‘but it could have been so good, it could have been, it really could.’

Saying the film was loosely based on the game of the same name is quite laughable. Look here’s a Lolz to show how funny that last statement was: Lolz.

17. House of the Dead (2003)

Starring: A bunch of teen actors you never heard of before and probably never will again.

Directed by: Uwe Boll. (Yes, him.

If we stay really still, perhaps no one will ever know we were in this film

There was a house, there was dead people. There the game and the movie diverge forever. The game was a decent money grabbing arcade hit, most notable for the Light Guns you used to play the game. The film is substandard, period. I don’t think I even care enough about what the critics said to mention them.

16. Super Mario Bros (1993)

Starring: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper

1993: The year video games try to forget... (image via http://thenorobotsblog.com)

Bob Hoskins said It was the worst thing I ever did.’ Both he and co-star John Leguizamo frequently turned up to the set drunk in order to get through the horror of filming this movie. Even Dennis Hopper, famous for his questionable choices of film role in later life said ‘It was a nightmare.’ Critics said not very nice things about the movie either. Who can blame them? Super Mario Bros.is most notable for the fact it is at number 16 in this list, and not number 20.

15. Double Dragon (1994)

Starring: Some guys you never heard of, and Alyssa Milano, an established teen star, apparently. Give me strength, this list is killing me

There's nothing good about this film. Nothing. I am losing the will to live   (image via http://imovies-guide.com)

Power. Justice. Darkness. Light - was the tagline for the film. IT is proof that that monkeys can be taught to write. That is all I have to say about that

14. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Starring: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta

Dungeon Siege: Now in German! (image via http://images4.fanpop.com)                                                                                            

Yet another Uwe Boll film. Yet another absolute turkey of a film that had so much promise but failed to do anything other than make me wish for my untimely demise. It’s like one of those fantasy films they made in the early 1980’s but with actors you’ve heard of. But Dungeon Siege is still worth watching to note just how far Ray Liotta has fallen since Goodfellas, that he was forced to make this crap. I mean, I assume he was forced to do it. There’s no way he did it by choice. Jason Statham plays his character like he knows what a disaster the film was going to be and so acts just serious enough to pass the edits. The film disappeared without trace at the box office.

It did however have Claire Forlani in it. Nice.

Claire Forlani: The best thing in the entire movie (image via http://images4.fanpop.com)

13. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Starring: Angelina Jolie.

Tomb Raider: Yes, she's good, but everything else around her sucks in this film

Angelina was perfectly believable as Croft. It was the rest of the movie that wasn’t. Despite this, and the mostly negative criticism from the press, it still somehow made a killing at the Box Office. Tomb Raider is proof that smart marketing, and a sex bomb Hollywood star in skin tight clothing can make a profit no matter how f****** awful the film is. The film has the emotional center of a fossilised Atari E.T. game.

At one point Demi Moore was slated to play Lara, but thank the Lords of Kobol she wasn’t. Fortunately for Angelina however, she lost out on a worst actress award because 2001 was also the year, Mariah Carey’s Magnum Opus, Glitter was released, and Carey took the Raspberry for that f****** movie instead.

12. Max Payne (2008)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, MIla Kunis

With: Olga Kurylenko, Nelly Furtado.

Max Payne: "No, you want apartment 445, this is apartment 544."

If ever there was a game that should have been taken virtually scene for scene from the game, then Max Payne is that film. The producers however seemed to think that mostly disregarding the hard hitting grief stricken revenge and inventing random hallucinogenic ‘Valkyries,’ was somehow a better option. One critic said it seemed like Blade Runner being shot in Cleveland.

It doesn’t say much for Wahlberg that the voice actor for the original game gave a stratospherically better performance than he did in this film. Fans of the game were mostly disappointed as well. I don’t need to cite that, I am one of them. I know how they feel.

Olga: Tragically underused, but lights the film on fire when she's on screen

Mila Kunis is totally unbelievable as a hardnosed weapon toting sister out for revenge, but hey it’s Mila Kunis, who cares. At least she was something to give you the will to live. The most convincing actor in this flick is Kurylenko. Tragically though, she’s only in it for about five minutes before she dies. She was hotter than Kunis in this, that’s how good she was. And Kunis is hot. If only her role and Kunis’s had been swapped, the film might have been better.

Mila Kunis: Miscast but still hot

The fight scenes were mostly pointless thoughtless affairs probably put in because it was a ‘game’ film. Wahlberg earned the dubious distinction of being nominated for worst actor in both Max Payne, and the Happening, but sadly lost out to Mike Myers. 

11. DOOM (2005)

Starring: The Rock, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike

DOOM: Wasn't it just supposed to be one guy?                                                

‘Hell Breaks Loose,’ was the tagline. Only Hell didn’t break loose. Unlike the game where the player must battle hordes of demons, the film is about alien genetic engineering gone wrong and focuses on some pointless diatribe about good and evil being inherent in human DNA. 

There is this one five minute sequence in the film actually in FPS mode which left fans of the game wondering why they hadn’t done the whole movie that way. Don’t ask where the chainsaw came from , or why they would need one on a Martian base, but It’s worth seeing for the moment Karl Urban pulls the string and starts cutting into people.

DOOM: I'm an elite soldier, Jim!; not a ship's doctor on a Federation Star...

Movie execs thought that because it was ‘DOOM’ there would inevitably be a sequel. It only goes to prove that these people knew nothing about gamers, or what gamers wanted from a film. Lolz. DOOM is another movie that had so much potential but managed to f*** it all up by making a lazy by the numbers omnishamblesclusterf*** effort. Shame on them. SHAME!

Karl Urban was very good however. Karl Urban is one of the most underated actors of our time. What is not underated is his ability to appear in garbage like this. The Rock was not good in this film. The saving grace was Rosamund Pike. Yes. Hell Yes.

Finally we reach the top ten.

I want my life back. It burns, it burns. Stay with me, it can only get better from here in. 

Oh no, I was wrong….

10. Need for Speed (2014)

Starring: The sidekick from Breaking Bad.

With: Imogen Poots. (Not a comedy name, she’s British. Dominic Cooper.

Need For Speed: That driving position is too low for safe driving

Ok, so the film’s called Need for Speed, but in truth it’s more based on the NFS Underground, and NFS Most Wanted games of the franchise, which in themselves were reactions to the original Fast and Furious movie.

Need for Speed the film therefore, is a movie loosely based on a game that was loosely based on a movie. That’s three degrees of separation. The cars are nice and generally hold up much better than the acting. At least in twenty years time, when someone says ‘Ford Mustang,’ people will still understand, but they’ll probably go, ‘Arron who?’ 

That just about says it all.

Need For Speed: I have no idea what's going on here

Next.

9. Hitman (2007)

Starring: Timothy Olyphant,  Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko

A Nameless assassin resists Olga Kurylenko’s sexual advances in a movie about a number (47) that was then made by the numbers. This is another classic example of a game adaptation made by people who obviously never played the game. The pitch went like this:

No, look right, he’s this assassin known only by the bar coded number on the back of his head and trained from childhood to be a pin sharp accurate killer.’

‘Wouldn’t a really obvious tattoo on the back of your head be a dead giveaway to every cop or airport security guy in the world?’

‘Yes….’

‘Let’s make it, hire a scriptwriter,.’

‘The games were a great concept, we should start looking there for inspiration for the film.’

‘No.’

‘What?’

‘Screw the games, we’re Hollywood. If we lift the story from the games, there’s a chance we could make a decent movie.’

‘That’s a good point, we should get Timothy Olyphant in for the lead. Did you see him in Die Hard 35? He was terrible.’

‘Get Olga Kurylenko in. She’s underrated as an actor, but man she’s va-va voom to look at.’

And that’s how it went. Trust me. I was there.

Hitman: Olga, just being Olga. Nice

Sadly, Paul Walker, was apparently slated to play 47 in the new reboot, which actually looks quite good. Since that can’t happen now, they cast Rupert Friend (Homeland). The reboot has Spock in it as well. Which is weird because I don’t recall that pointy eared b****** being in the games at all.

8. Postal (2007)

Starring: Zack Ward

With:          Jackie Tohn,  J.K. Simmons. (2015 Oscar winner. Verne Troyer.

Directed by: Uwe Boll…….

Postal: The mail must get through

Despite an opening sequence depicting the 9/11 hijackers flying into the World Trade Center arguing about the declining numbers of virgins they would get in heaven, and then showing that it was the passengers fault, it’s no wonder hardly anyone would screen the film. Remember this was shot only six years after 9/11. Too soon? You be the judge.

“Some comedies go too far. Others start there.”  Uwe Boll may finally have found his calling, and bizarrely, it’s bad taste controversial Political Satire This film may well be the zenith of his directorial career, but that’s no compliment. While the film sparkles in its portrayal of downbeat, dead end, small town Americana pastiche, several elements of the film make good political points and then drown them out with over the top offensiveness.

Believe it or not, this is one of the least offensive scenes

Where it isn’t offensive, the film is very much on the same line of humor as, Team America: World Police. and is very funny in certain parts. But Trey Parker did a better job of highlighting the contradiction and ignorance of Bush era US foreign policy.

7. Street Fighter (1994)

I have nothing positive to say about this film  (image via http://www.impawards.com)

Starring: Jean Claude Van-Damme, he’s an action man. Kylie Minogue, Raul Julia

Here’s an interesting fact: Van Damme was the original choice to play ‘The Predator’ in Predator. He was fired because he wasn’t tall enough. That is literally as good as it gets for Street Fighter.

Street fighter is based loosely upon the Street Fighter II arcade game. I swear, if I have to write ‘loosely based’ one more time, I’m going to have to Sonic Boom someone myself.

Street Fighter was a commercial success which only shows how ingrained Street Fighter had become in teen culture back in the 90’s. I know because I was there. It certainly wasn’t a hit because of the story, or the script. It also shows the insanity of that last part of the 20th Century because Van Damme was a big enough name to open a movie. Unfortunately, most of the budget was apparently spent on paying Van Damme, and Julia, and so not much was left for making the actual film…

Between Van-Damme’s coke habit, Julia dying from stomach cancer Capcom’s continual interference, constant script rewrites, and Kylie Minogue’s attempt to act tough, the film was a disaster in the making.

6. Far Cry (2008)

Starring: Til Schweiger, Emmanuelle Vaugier, va va voom

Far Cry is a Far Cry from most of Uwe Boll's films

The plot goes something like this: Attractive headstrong reporter battles genetic super soldiers on island with retired Spec-Op officer.

Oh Brilliant! Another Uwe Boll film. But it’s at number seven. Am I on drugs? No, this film is fun. Uwe Boll secured the film rights to the Far Cry game before it was even released. Surprisingly for a Boll film, the main character has been well cast. Schweiger oozes magnetism on the screen and is the best thing about it. 

For a film with such a low budget, it’s actually alright. Yes, the dialogue is risible. Yes, the one liners have been wedged in with a hammer, but the film wins in spite of it all. The numerous action and fight scenes are mostly very good, and despite the lack of a tropical island, it keeps the spirit of the Far Cry game.

He's behind you!

Due to Boll’s reputation, this film ended up in the almost straight to DVD category of movie. This is a shame because while it’s not Oscar worthy, for a low budget film (Relatively., it’s been done quite well. Emmanuelle Vaugier is not just eye candy in this film and does the best she can with the script she was given. From what I can tell, critics and even Far Cry developers jumped on the anti-Uwe Boll bandwagon without really evaluating the finished product on its own merits. I disagree with the critics on this one.

5. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

Starring the voice talent of: Ming Na, Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Steve Buscemi, Donald Sutherland, and Ving Rhames

Final Fantasy: The film has nothing whatsoever to do with any of the games that went before it. Nothing!

This is a good film and I’m not just saying that because it was the first DVD I ever owned. Essentially the story goes: Pretty scientist saves Earth from itself while bringing peace to alien ghosts. It was also the first photo realistic film ever made, and has the distinction of being the most expensive computer animated film of all time. It also lost a boatload of money in the cinemas, possibly due to the fact that people had finally begun to equate the phrase ‘Game,’ with ‘Movie’ and thought it would be rubbish. Ok, so it’s not great, but it deserved more than it got at the time.

The main character in one of her bizarre dreams of the past

4. Resident Evil

Starring: Mila Johovoovovovohich, Michelle Rodriguez

Resident Evil: The dog shoe accesory never really took off

Sonic Boom! Well I said if I have to say ‘loosely based,’ one more time, and that’s what theResident Evil movie is. It has no relationship with any of the games. But this was done intentionally, and for once they seem to have got it right.  

Milla Jovovich is perfectly cast as the amnesiac Alice and has the presence and charisma you’d happily take orders from.  

MIchelle Rodriguez was also perfect as a hardcore ass kicking soldier.

The entire film has a moral center, and is an allegory for the soulless power and crushing might of a faceless power hungry corporations. The film has some real frights, and the Omnipresent AI is freakishly scary and unsettling.

Perhaps as a measure of how unexpectedly good the film was, is that the first Resident Evil took less money at the Box Office than the rest of the series.

 What’s great about the film were the high production values, the good acting, Milla Jovovich, the kick ass final scene, and of course, MIlla Jovovich.

3. Silent Hill (2006)

Starring: Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black), Laurie Holden (Walking Dead.

With: Sean Bean

Welcome to silent hill  (image via http://www.silenthillmemories.net)

I can’t help it. I love this film. You can tell it’s made with love. According to the wiki entry, the director lobbied Konami for five years in order to get the rights to make it. Visually, the film is stunning and the tension and atmosphere is chillingly electric.  It take elements from all the games and melds them to great effect. The music is good as well. The film is far from perfect, however. Some of the dialogue feels clunky to say the least, but the stunning Radha Mitchell excels as the mother looking for her lost daughter, and Holden holds up well as the tough cop. 

2. DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Starring: Devon Aoki, Jaime Pressly, Holly Valance.

With: Other good looking girls.

DOA: I say nothing. I think this picture speaks for itself

I remember the Dead or Alive movie for two reasons. The first is that I remember it was a box office stinker in the US, but did quite well in other regions of the globe. the second was that it actually seemed to follow the plot of the game.

DOA: How to deal with a sudden loss of gravity

The great thing about DOA is that it was shot well, all the main characters were kick ass, hot to boot, and had Holly Valance as well. While critics gave the film quite mixed reviews, cinema goers and fans were generally positive, with one echoing my feelings exactly: ‘This is exactly what I'd expect a movie based on DOA to be.’

It also had Holly Valance in it. (Did I say that already?)

 

1. Mortal Kombat. (1995)

Starring: Some guys you never heard of, and Bridgette Wilson.

With: Christopher lambert

Mortal Kombat: Over 20 years old, and as yet, still the best video game adaption of all time

Directed by Resident Evil’s Paul Anderson, the film follows 3 fighters fighting in the Mortal Kombat tournament to save Earth from the evil Shao Kahn.

While nothing about the film was Oscar worthy, it did have good fx for the time, and is somewhat unique in that the makers did away with creating stupid romantic sub-plots and just got on with the fighting.  Where Street Fighter failed, Mortal Kombat wins as each of the heroes has at least one fight in the contest, thus staying somewhat true to the origins of the game and not sucking because of it. It is also, currently the 4th highest grossing video game adaptation of all time. Not bad.

If you don't believe me that is the best video game turned into a movie ever, then I ask you to dig out the old DVD and watch it. You may be surprised just how good it actually still is.

Scorpion: Say hello to my little friend

Interesting fact to finish with: Cameron Diaz was originally cast to play the role of Sonya Blade but broke her hand during Karate lessons and so was replaced. Mental.

 

Finally.

We made it. We did it. It’s been an uphill struggle but at last we’re here. After all that bad and sometimes at best, average, we’ve come to the end of our countdown.

But did we get it right?

Would you have added any other films we missed out?

And what would be your top three choices? Don’t just sit there, tell us! And tell us why…

More on this topic:
Chilled, Calm, writer, lover, fighter
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: World Of Tanks, Skyrim, GTA5, Dying Light
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Borderlands 2, Grand Theft Auto V
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