[nextpage title=”15 Worst Video Game Movies of All Time”]Seventeen years after Angelina Jolie embodied the titular role in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its sequel, The Cradle of Life, Alicia Vikander is rebooting the franchise with the more simply named Tomb Raider. Jolie’s outings as the video game heroine made a lot of cash, but, frankly, they weren’t very good, which is why we’re hoping that Vikander and director Roar Uthaug can give fans the Lara Croft feature film that they always hoped to see.
It’s actually quite rare to see a good video game movie. The long-running Resident Evil series has its fans, and auteurs have left their stamp on flawed films like Silent Hill or Warcraft, but video game adaptations don’t have a great track record. That’s why we’re going to take you on a tour of the worst that this genre has to offer.
Here are the 15 Worst Video Game Movies of All Time.
Once upon a time, Duncan Jones was a great shining light of the film industry. His debut feature, Moon, became a cult classic in short order with its minimalist style and thought-provoking premise. But the last few years have not been particularly kind to Jones. Most recently, his Netflix original film Mute was savaged by critics, landing an ugly 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Warcraft, however, came with a huge price tag, and fans of the video game were eager to see what the director of Moon had come up with. When it was finally released in 2016, the film seemed surprisingly out of touch with savvy contemporary sci-fi audiences. For people well-versed in the mythologies of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, the storyline of Warcraft lacked the kind of complex world-building that audiences were expecting.
Still, if it’s any consolation to Jones, the film did very well in China.[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”14. Assassin’s Creed” ]
14. Assassin’s Creed
Michael Fassbender is the rare actor that attracts excitement for a film just by being in it, meaning that fans were especially pleased to discover he would be reteaming with his Macbeth director Justin Kurzel for the long-awaited, big budget adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, the uber-popular EA game that spent almost a decade in development.
When it came out, fans were surprised at how little passion there seemed to be for the source material. It was all very handsomely mounted with good special effects, the film gave fans that leap of faith into a cart full of hay that they had been anticipating. The problem is that when you take the source material too seriously in a video game adaptation, you might also be removing a crucial factor from the formula: this movie isn’t any fun.
13. Resident Evil: Afterlife
Listen, we’re only putting one Resident Evil movie on this list, otherwise might take up a quarter of the article. That movie is Afterlife, the fourth film in the series, and the one that reteams original director Paul W.S. Anderson with his wife, Milla Jovovich, who plays series heroine Alice. In this iteration, she wanders through a post-outbreak Los Angeles (played by Toronto, of course) searching for survivors.
As with the other movies in the Resident Evil series, Alice must fend off infected zombies created by the Umbrella Corporation and, as with the other movies, Afterlife is long on action and short on plot. Anderson has earned a cult following of admirers in recent years for his confusing, slapdash way of cutting action scenes together (and, admittedly, he has a knack for creating some memorable compositions within those scene), but most of us are not among that cult.
12. Silent Hill
As with Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft, video cam aficionados were excited when French filmmaker Christophe Gans was announced as the director of Silent Hill, a creepy video game adaptation that promised to subvert expectations by leaning on the horror of its source material just as much as its potential for action.
Gans had previously made Brotherhood of the Wolf, a stylish French fantasy film that managed to create something new and interesting out of the genre by combining French historical setpieces with martial arts. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do the same for Silent Hill, a foggy slog that follows a mother (Rhada Mitchell) as she searches for her daughter through the creepy town of Silent Hill (played by Toronto, of course). The sequel, Silent Hill: Revelations, also isn’t very good, but at least that one wasn’t released with the burden of expectations.[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”11. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” ]
11. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Believe it or not, we’re ranking the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider below its slightly better sequel, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, despite the surfeit of subtitles. In this 2001 Simon West joint, Jolie plays Croft as a modern female update of Indiana Jones, who trots around the globe getting into fights with a secret society known as the Illuminati.
While the film seems to do right by its subject matter – it does have Jolie wearing revealing clothes while holding a big gun – it’s sorely lacking in imagination or fun. The result is dull and tough to get through for anyone not invested in the game series, even when a pre-007 Daniel Craig shows up as a “bad” tomb raider.
10. Far Cry
If we were to include every Uwe Boll video game adaptation on this list, we would probably fill the whole thing up with his films, so we’re giving a pass to such clunkers as BloodRayne, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead, which manages to not even take place in a house.
That said, Boll’s 2008 adaptation of Far Cry makes the list, just in time for the release of Far Cry 5 later this month. A low-budget affair that stars Til Schweiger as a man who hunts down mutants created by an evil German doctor. To be fair, Udo Kier gives the film a little bit of life as said German doctor, but the film still suffers from incompetent filmmaking. A few years past the meagre box office success of Boll’s earlier films, Far Cry bypassed theatres altogether in 2008, except in Boll’s native Germany.
9. Super Mario Bros.
Nostalgia might trick you into thinking that Super Mario Bros. is a cheesy good time, but we assure you: it is not. This ill-conceived comedy imagines the titular bros (played by Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) as a couple of Italian plumbers in New York City. Long before augmented reality placed the bros in the real world, this movie had them running around the streets of the big apple.
In this film, King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) is the humanoid descendant of a tyrannosaurus rex in another dimension, and he’s trying to obtain a special meteorite from the real world, which would help him merge both of the worlds together… or something. It’s all very complicated, it has little to do with the side-scroller that we know and love, and, frankly, it’s not very good.[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”8. Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time”]
8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia is a long-beloved video game franchise about a Persian prince who must free a Princess from an evil sultan to save his kingdom. Like many older video games, Prince of Persia is light on plot, but that didn’t stop Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney from adapting the series into a big budget blockbuster in 2010, directed by Mike Newell, hot of the success of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Unfortunately, the year was 2010, and not a lot of people were willing to buy Jake Gyllenhaal as a Persian prince. After a decade of Pirates of the Caribbean films, it’s also possible that audiences had tired of the tongue-in-cheek fantasy adventures that Bruckheimer specialized in, and the film never found its audience. It could have also been that the film was a mess of CGI spectacle and poor writing, and that the very British Newell seems uncomfortable amidst the Hollywood gloss of this would-be blockbuster.
7. The Angry Birds Movie
Remember Angry Birds? Possibly the first mobile game sensation, everyone from your grandmother to your 5-year-old grandkids were playing it at one time. That’s why Columbia Pictures decided to put out a movie based on the game six years after its popularity had peaked. Loading the very simple 2-dimensional game with a great deal of plot, backstory and bad dialogue, the film failed to recapture the magic of the game that you played on your phone while you’re waiting for your appointment at the dentist’s office.
Somehow, the movie was still popular, earning almost $350 million at the box office. It was so popular, in fact, that Columbia is hard at work on a sequel, that will come out in theatres precisely seven years after you deleted Angry Birds off your iPhone 4 in 2012 to make room for, er, Cinemagram?
6. Need for Speed
For a car game that cribbed its name from a movie about planes, Need for Speed has done pretty well for itself. When it comes to racing fancy cars against each-other, the NFS series is pretty much the standard-bearer, with 23 games and counting.
As with most racing games, however, Need for Speed doesn’t have a whole lot of plot. Nevertheless, it was adapted into a movie in 2014, starring Aaron Paul, hot off his role as Jesse Pinkman in the über-popular Breaking Bad. Paul played Tobey Marshall, a former race car driver who seeks to avenge the man who killed his friend.
Need for Speed pretty much came and went from North American theatres, but it racked up a fortune overseas. At one point, a trio of Chinese film companies were even looking to produce a China-set sequel, but those plans seem to have fizzled out.[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”5. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li”]
5. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
The 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme-starring Street Fighter was no masterpiece, but at least it offered use some great fight scenes and an incredible final performance from Raúl Juliá as the film’s main villain. The same cannot be said for 2009’s Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, which trades out Colonel Guile (Van Damme’s character) as a protagonist for Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk).
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak (who was once one of the most in-demand cinematographers in Hollywood) Legend of Chun Li was made on a low budget for a niche audience and it shows. The film currently holds a remarkably low 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe they’ll have better luck the next time they reboot the franchise.
4. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
The first Mortal Kombat film may not have turned any heads when it came out in 1995, but it gave audiences what they wanted: a bunch of people fighting each other in a tournament with Earth itself at stake. The Kombat was, as they say, Mortal, and box office receipts proved that the concept was popular.
Nevertheless, the producers followed it up with Annihilation, which scrapped the director and most of the cast from the first film. The film incorporates a lot of poorly-rendered CGI backdrops and sub-Mad Max costumes. Fortunately, for fans of Mortal Kombat, the 2010 web series proved to be a better adaptation of the game than either of the films.[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”3. Hitman” ]
It’s a game about a bald hitman with a big gun who kills people for money. How do you screw that up? Well, for starters, it’s 2007 and you fail to cast Vin Diesel in the role, instead giving it over to Timothy Olyphant. Sure, Olyphant is a fine actor, but he normally has a full head of hair and his general demeanour doesn’t scream out “strong and silent.”
Another good way to screw it up is to hire unknown French director Xavier Gens to give it a distinctly eurotrash vibe. Even at a time when Euro-cool movies like The Bourne Identity were blowing up the big screen, something about Hitman just felt… off. An attempt to reboot the franchise, Hitman: Agent 47 also failed to bring out fans of the video game series. Nevertheless, we’re sure it’ll be rebooted again within the next decade. Maybe one of these times it’ll stick.
2. DOA: Dead or Alive
By the time DOA: Dead or Alive was released in 2006, the video game series it was based on was better known for a string of sexy beach volleyball titles than the original fighting game. Perhaps that’s why they cast a trio of models as the film’s main characters, all of whom are fighting in some kind of fighting competition held on a tropical island which definitely exists. The film even pauses at one point so they can pick up a volleyball and play a match.
Some critics actually commented positively on the fight scenes, which were choreographed by the legendary Corey Yuen (who also directed the film), but there wasn’t much else to offer. The film bombed at the box office, and Yuen hasn’t directed a film since, although his choreography resume is still quite good.[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”1. Postal” ]
Here it is, the worst video game movie of all time. That would be Uwe Boll’s Postal, an adaptation of a 1997 game that revels in bad taste, stereotypes and offensive humour. Postal, the movie, opens with a scene of two 9/11 plane hijackers debating about the amount of virgins they’ll receive in heaven. It’s a film in very bad taste. It follows the character of “Postal Dude” (Zack Ward, or Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story) and Uncle Dave (a slumming Dave Foley from The Kids in the Hall) as they plan to steal a shipment of scrotum-shaped plush dolls.
Despite the fact that barely anyone had heard of the film, it’s release was cancelled by mainstream theatre chains for its offensive content, meaning that it only saw the light of day in 4 theatres across the United States. According to Boll, they wouldn’t even let the distributor rent theatres for the film. Nevertheless, Boll seems to have a soft spot in his heart for the movie, and even tried to Kickstart the funds for a sequel in 2013. He failed, eventually stopped making movies entirely, and now he owns a very well-reviewed restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia.[/nextpage]
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