Video games and movies seemed to go hand in hand from the very beginning. Since the time when video games were no more than pixelated blobs on screen, Hollywood has tried to capitalize on them. For the most part, video games and movies seem like a perfect fit. Both are visual storytelling mediums, and sometimes it even seems like movies are the better fit for the story the original game developers were trying to tell.
Unfortunately for fans, most video games-turned-movies aren't very good. In fact, many of them are just crap. Whether it's poor acting, nonsensical scripts, terrible graphics, or —in many cases— a combination of all three, video game adaptations have struggled to get it right.
The terrible track record these movies have hasn't stopped investors and studios from trying though. With movies based on the Call of Duty franchise, The Division, Rampage, and many more in development, video game-to-film adaptations don't seem like they are going anywhere anytime soon.
To help you sort through them all, here are 15 Amazing Video Games That Were Turned Into Horrible Movies.
15 House of the Dead
We're starting things off right with this list. For anyone who has been mildly paying attention to video adaptations over the past ten years or so, the name Uwe Boll should send a shiver through your spine.
Boll is a German filmmaker who focuses mostly on video game to movie adaptations. From Bloodrayne to Far Cry, Boll has done it all. House of the Dead is amongst his finest work. Sporting the great score of 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, House of the Dead is the kind of film that is better watched in a —shall we say— altered state with friends around so you can laugh at the paper thin characters, wooden dialogue. Trying to follow along with a plot that makes almost no sense is a riot.
14 Assassin's Creed
This is one that kills me to put on this list. It seemed to have everything going for it. Two of the best working actors today (Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard), an up-and-coming director in Justin Kurzel, and a trailer which seemed to show everything we loved about the Assassin's Creed games, but still this wasn't enough.
For me, I have always cared more about the gameplay in the Assassin's Creed games than I have for the overly complicated plots. I thought maybe this film would be able to move past the convoluted storytelling of the games, but, alas, that wasn't to be. From the dull dialogue to fight scenes that never excite, this video game adaptation was dead from the get-go. Mark this one down as another video game to movie disappointment.
13 Alone In The Dark
I had to do it. I'm sorry. I promise this is the last Uwe Boll film to make this list. After the pile of garbage that was House of the Dead, how do you possibly follow up with something worse? In the case of Boll, you make Alone in the Dark.
The original Alone in the Dark game was groundbreaking. It was amongst the first 'survival horror' game, and its use of 3D graphics was revolutionary at the time. Fast forward to 2005, and Uwe Boll gives us what, when historians look back on the history of cinema, might be the crowning achievement of 'Worst Movie of All Time.' Starring Tara Reid and Christen Slater, the film starts off with possibly the longest title scroll of all time. This beginning is so absurdly long, you begin to squirm in your seat, wondering if this is some kind of joke. Unfortunately, it is not, and the film doesn't get any better from there.
12 Mortal Kombat
'Heresy,' I can hear you crying. 'The Mortal Kombat movies were such an important part of my childhood!' I hear you, and I understand, but have you watched those movies recently? They are terrible, god-awful even.
Now, I can understand why studios might be attracted to a game like Mortal Kombat. It was hot at the time not only as a game, but as a general topic of discussion. It was one of those games that were constantly brought up when people talked about violence in video games.
That controversy, however, doesn't lend itself to a good movie. Nor do fighting game plots in general. Think about it, when's the last time you sat back after having beat the single-player in a fighting game and thought 'Wow, what a great story!' Yeah. I can't think of a time either.
11 Tomb Raider (series)
Angelina Jolie was the perfect Tomb Raider. At least, she seemed so back when the video games still featured a ridiculous Lara — more eye candy than a real woman. These days, Lara's original portray (in both the game and movie) is laughable, almost embarrassingly so.
I've included this film series on the list not because they are terrible. In fact, compared to a lot of the films on this list, the Tomb Raider series is among the best. The reason I placed these films on the list is because of decidedly generic they both are. Nothing really stands out about them. They are about as vanilla a Hollywood action film as you could possibly make with seemingly everyone phoning it in. Again, it's not a bad film just not a very good one either.
Doom has never been a plot-heavy game. Even in Doom 3, where developer Id tried to scrape together a more cohesive story, fell flat for many people. And while I have to admit, the idea of a demonic invasion on Mars sounds like a great idea for an action movie, this video game to film adaptation falls way short of even the lowest expectations.
Starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson before he was the mega-popular, star of a billion-dollar-franchise-Rock, Doom is a movie that doesn't seem to know what to do with itself. Based on a video game about shooting hordes of demons, instead, the filmmakers attempt to go for an Alien/Predator ripoff kind of film and fail miserably.
Then there's that first-person scene. Don't get me started on that.
9 Street Fighter
I almost didn't want to add this film to the list. I mean it has Jean-Claude Van Damme in it after all. The Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Anyone familiar with his movies, however, will know the kind of acting caliber he brings to them all.
But beyond Van Damme and the nonstop action, there is little to love about the film. The lone bright spot being Raul Julia's over-the-top performance as Bison, it's the kind of film that has developed somewhat of a cult following for the overacting and cheesy one-liners, but those looking for a genuine piece of good entertainment should look elsewhere.
8 Max Payne
Another great game series, another wasted opportunity.
Max Payne, perhaps more than any of the games we've talked about thus far, lends itself to the big screen. Developer Rockstar Games was clearly inspired by noir films when they made the first two games. It's unfortunate then that the movie doesn't take more cues from the films that inspired the games in the first place.
Sure, the visuals are good, sometimes great, and I don't hate Marky Mark as Max as much as I thought I would, but the plot just isn't there. Not to mention the fact the movie is based on M-rated games, and it sports a PG-13 rating. The filmmakers teased us with the good action, but never delivered a satisfying throughline.
7 Halo Series
The Halo series of films gets a spot on this list not because any of the films are terrible, but because they are just so mediocre. Microsoft's flagship title is a game series that screams to be made into a great film yet nothing has materialized over the years.
For a while, there was talk of an epic adaptation with everyone from Peter Jackson (director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy) to Neill Blomkamp attached to the project. That was years ago though. A proper Halo movie seems to be dead in the water. Instead, Microsoft has released several straight to DVD films that while, not bad, haven't lived up to the potential that Halo has as a series.
6 DOA: Dead Or Alive
What is it about fighting games that makes movie studios want to adapt them so badly? They are some of the least plot-centric games in the industry, yet they seem to draw so much attention from filmmakers and investors.
Don't question it. The filmmakers have it figured out. The moment you begin to question anything in the film they inevitably cut to a boob or butt shot. It is without fail. I suppose this might have excited me when I was a 13 year old, but now that I'm older, these kinds of gratuitous shots just don't cut it anymore, and they are more laughable than anything.
The film makes no sense, the CGI sucks, and the fight scenes are mediocre at best.
5 Super Mario Bros.
When you think of good video games that could be turned into great movies, what comes to mind? Halo? Sure. Uncharted? Most definitely. The Witcher? Yes, please.
How about Mario? No?
Yeah, me either.
This game series is great, but not for its story if you can even call it one. Here, I'll summarize every single Mario game ever created: Princess Peach gets kidnapped, you must rescue her by jumping and fighting your way through increasingly difficult jumping puzzles. While the movies' visuals were great for the time, the plot made little sense and barely resemble anything we would associate with the Mario Bros today.
4 Warcraft: The Beginning
This is another film that pains me to put on this list. I wanted this film to be good. It seemed to have everything going for it. Director Duncan Jones had made two stellar sci-fi films previously (Moon and Source Code, which, if you haven't seen either, do yourself a favor and see them). Jones was also a huge fan of the source material, and had a huge amount of money to make Warcraft the kind of epic fantasy movie it should be.
Instead, what we got was a bit of a mess. The visuals were stunning, yes, but the characters were all forgettable, the dialogue sometimes cringe-worthy, and something which, while not offensively bad like a lot of the films on this list, will make you think you could have spent two hours of your life doing something more productive.
3 Silent Hill: Revelation
The Silent Hill series is one of the most deeply disturbing and deeply terrifying video game series I have ever played. Not only that, it is deeply cinematic one. From the forced perspective the older games took to the mature content, they dealt with, this seemed like a series more than others that could be turned into a great movie.
Alas, that was not to be. I put Revelation on this list because it is almost unwatchable. The first movie, while not great, was decent. You could put it in and enjoy it for its wonderful visuals and slight scares. The sequel, however, I couldn't even get through, and that's coming from a life-long Silent Hill fan. A nonsensical plot, stiff characters, and questionable graphics all make an appearance in this turd of a film.
2 Pokémon: The First Movie
'I want to be the very best like no one ever was.'
Come on, sing the words with me. I know you know them. Growing up, Pokemon was a staple in my household. Video games, cards, and movies, my brother and I did them all. I distinctly remember going to see this movie in theaters when it first came out. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it.
But have you watched it lately? The plot is thin at best, and it all feels so...shameless. Nothing more than a marketing tool to further world domination by all things Pokemon. While that may be fine for some, that does not make a good movie.
1 Resident Evil (series)
I know this might not be a popular choice seeing as the movies have (somehow) been so popular. It still blows my mind that they managed to make six movies in this franchise. When the 'best' film in the franchise only sports a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, you know what kind of film you're getting into.
Take a laundry list of things bad movies have in them, and the Resident Evil series will have just about all of them. Terrible dialogue? Check. Nonsensical story? Check. Gratuitous violence and sometimes laughable CGI? Check and check. Not to mention these films don't even bother to follow the games they are based on. I suppose the first couple of films (very) generally follow the first two games, but after that, the movies go off the deep end. It is for that, and many, many more reasons, the Resident Evil film series is number one on my list.