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The Best & Worst Movies Based On Video Games

Feb 24, 2016

Let's get real for a moment here. When a video game is adapted into a movie, at least up until this point. The results have been less than stellar. Even the best of the best isn't a great movie objectively. That said, some adaptations are certainly better than others. With the upcoming release of Ratchet and Clank as well as World Of Warcraft and a new Assassin's Creed movie in production. Things could be looking up for the sub-genre.

Until those release though, here's my picks for the best and worst movies based on video games. Note: This list only includes films which saw a North America theatrical release.

Could World Of Warcraft be the best video game movie yet? We'll find out this summer!Could World Of Warcraft be the best video game movie yet? We'll find out this summer!Courtesy of Legendary Pictures

The Best Of The Best

#5) Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2010)

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time garnered high hopes from video game fans around the world. For the first time, it seemed a video game to movie adaptation was getting the treatment they deserve. Good director? Check. Large budget? Check. Academy Award winning and nominated actors? Check. While not a complete disaster in any way, it failed to live up to the great trailer. But it is fun and features some great set-pieces and solid special effects. Worth a watch for sure, even if it is hard to buy Jake Gyllenhaal as a Persian prince.


#4) Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

While not being based off any particular game in the long running Final Fantasy video game series. The Spirits Within was instead set in the same universe, but told it's own original story. In 2001, it featured state of the art CG images and a really good cast of voice actors including Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, James Woods, Donald Sutherland and Ming-Na Wen. The story is a little bland and nearly void of emotion at times but it's still a solid watch thanks to some exciting action.


#3) Silent Hill (2006)

Based on the horror video game series of the same name, Silent Hill was another adaptation that had hints of greatness but didn't come together as a whole. The story and writing weren't all that good but the director and crew nail some things. The tone is bleak and unsettling at times and the cinematography is pretty good. The way the world transitions from the light to the dark realms is really cool and some of the character designs are fantastic, including the scary nurses and the menacing Pyramid Head.


#2) Resident Evil (2002)

Resident Evil, is easily the most popular on this list. There are five films in the long running series now with a final entry in production at this moment. They make a good chunk of cash at the theaters and certainly have their fans. The original film, released in 2002 is still the best of the bunch in my eyes. It kept things simple, setting the film mostly in the underground Umbrella Corporation labs and had it fair share of excitement. The hallway of death, with lasers that can slice metal like butter is just one of many moments worth talking about.


#1) Mortal Kombat (1995)

MOOOORTAL KOOOOMBAAAAT! Probably the truest to the source material of any movie on this list (minus the R rated gore) and utterly unabashed about it. Mortal Kombat may have a bare bones story, it's based on a fighting game after all. But the decently cast roster of characters, quality costume designs, fun martial arts action and pumping techno soundtrack put Mortal Kombat at the top of the list. It even found time to lighten things up with a little humor now and then. Siskel & Ebert even gave it "Two Thumbs Up!". Flawless Victory.


The Worst Of The Worst

#5) Street Fighter (1994)

Jean-Claude Van Damme, what a career you've had. Street Fighter comes in at number 5 on the worst list. But it gets close to so-bad-it's-good territory. The cast seems to be having fun at least. It's just unfortunate this had to be the last film the incredible Raul Julia (Gomez from The Adams Family) made before his passing. And don't get me started on their cheap interpretation of Blanka.


#4) Super Mario Bros. (1993)

Many people claim Super Mario Bros. to be the worst video game movie ever made. I don't think so though. It is a pretty big mess, no argument there. It feels so far off the source material that you wonder if the directors were trolling Nintendo. But what saves the film from being the worst of the worst is the charming Bob Hoskins as Mario and a couple goofy scenes that can illicit smiles, even if only for their sheer ridiculousness. 


#3) Wing Commander (1999)

Now we're getting into deep, dangerous waters. Wing Commander features horrible writing, sloppy special effects (even for the time) and a cast with Freddie Prince Jr. and Matthew Lillard headlining. I rest my case.


#2) Mortal Kombat Annihilation (1997)

Yes, Mortal Kombat makes the best AND worst list here. The sequel to my favorite video game movie is a fail on every level. The only positive thing to say about Mortal Kombat Annihilation is that the trailer got fans of the original excited...until they actually watched it. Annihilation jams every Mortal Kombat character it can onto the screen, which could have been cool. If it weren't for the fact that many are only seen in the background and the costumes looked really cheap, like they were picked up at a Halloween shop. The visual effects were beyond atrocious as well.

As a 15 year old teenager, Mortal Kombat Annihilation was responsible for my first cinematic heart break and was the first film I ever considered walking out of midway through.


#1) Every Uwe Boll Movie

Director Uwe Boll has brought many video game properties to the big screen. House Of The Dead, Alone In The Dark, Bloodrayne, Dungeon Siege, Postal, Far Cry and even sequels to some of these. They are all terrible. Horrendous even. The worst is Alone In The Dark. A film so bad we couldn't even find a trailer of sharable quality - it sits at an embarrassing 1% on Rotten Tomatoes. If someone ever invites you over to watch any of these films... run, run as far away as fast as you can. And don't look back.

Have your Say!

Which is your favorite video game movie? And which is your least favorite? Let us know in the comments!