Playing video games is often an immersive experience that draws you into an entirely new world and helps you forget about the problems of your everyday life. In this way, games are very similar to films as you can connect and relate to characters in an entirely fictional world without having to leave the couch. For this reason alone it's no surprise Hollywood quickly discovered they could cash-in on the popularity of video games by adapting them into films.
The craze really took hold during the 90s with a large number of video games turned into films. The downside to this was many of the films released turned out to be utter trash. Is it really a surprise a film about two plumbers trying to rescue a princess from a parallel universe failed? Or that an animated game about birds ended up being one of the worst films ever released?
Of course not, but even though the majority of games turned into films aren't great, there are a few that are not only watchable but really entertaining and capture the feel of the games they're based on. To help you shuffle through the endless video game flicks that have been released I've put together a list featuring the 20 most embarrassing video game films while also highlighting 10 that are actually good.
30 Most Embarrassing: Super Mario Bros.
Few video game to film adaptations bombed as badly as Nintendo's beloved Super Mario Bros. Starring the odd pairing of Bob Hoskins (Mario) and John Leguizamo (Luigi) as Italian New York plumbers who find themselves battling Denis Hooper's Koopa on a parallel universe ruled by dinosaurs is as bizarre as it sounds.
Aside from featuring characters from the game, there are no real similarities between the various Super Mario Bros. titles and this film, with Hoskins overacting to the extreme. The duo also don't don their iconic costumes until over an hour in, suffice to say: this film is worse than a blocked toilet.
29 Most Embarrassing: Warcraft
Attempting to make a film based on the epic online role-playing game Warcraft is ambitious, but many had faith in director Duncan Jones, whose previous efforts Moon and Source Code marked him as one to watch.
Although he tries hard to stay true to the mythology of Warcraft this film ends up at sea.
Vikings Travis Fimmel is miscast as human warrior Anduin Lothar and Ben Foster underused, and while the special effects are fantastic they don't make up for a less than stellar plot and some sloppy dialogue.
28 Actually Good: Mortal Kombat
Sure, it's a little cheesy and features some less than impressive acting, but Mortal Kombat remains the first film adaptation to do a video game justice. Featuring all the major characters from the first game the flick stays relatively faithful to the source material, with a group of warriors handpicked by the God of Thunder Raiden (Christopher Lambert) to participate in the Mortal Kombat tournament and save earth from destruction.
Lamert is great as Raiden while veteran actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa excels as the evil Shang Tsung. Earning over $122 million worldwide on a budget of just $18 million Mortal Kombat proved there was an audience for films based on games. The soundtrack is also spectacular and includes the now classic main theme, "Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)," by Belgian electronic act The Immortals.
27 Most Embarrassing: Wing Commander
Much like the game the premise for Wing Commander is quite intriguing, concerning an intergalactic war between humans and an alien race that resemble cats. The bad news is the plot fails to translate the exciting world of the game on the screen with the film taking too long explaining what's going on with little action or drama.
Freddie Prinze Jr. isn't a great leading man and Matthew Lillard, who's normally a scene stealer, fails to offer much. The low budget contributes to the films poor special effects and production, with Wing Commander about as impressive as the in-game cutscenes.
26 Most Embarrassing: House Of The Dead
The mastermind behind this atrocity, Uwe Boll, is responsible for six films on this list, all under the most embarrassing header.
House Of The Dead is Boll's first attempt at adapting a video game for the big screen and he fails in every way.
It's a standard run of the mill zombie flick but without any of the action, drama or emotion usually reserved for these types of films. The use of footage from the game spliced into the film is unique, but makes it feel dated when watching today. Despite being critically savaged a sequel got made, although that's somehow worse than the original.
25 Actually Good: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The Tomb Raider game is like a modern-day Indiana Jones so when Angelina Jolie was announced to play the Lara Croft fanboys the world over got excited. Thankfully, Jolie is the perfect person to play Croft and does a fantastic job in a film involving spectacular action set pieces and a fast-paced plot.
Although critics didn't think much of the film, Jolie's star power was enough to make it a box office smash, with the film earning over double of it's $115 million budget.
24 Most Embarrassing: Double Dragon
Double Dragon is a simplistic beat 'em up whereby you play as either Billy or Jimmy Lee (twin brothers) and take on waves of bad guys while trying to rescue Billy's girlfriend who was taken.
The film tries to incorporate this idea into a script featuring magic medallions, a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, a bleached blonde Alyssa Milano, and cheesy dialogue. It just doesn't work. Both Scott Wolf (Billy) and Mark Dacascos (Jimmy) are terrible and while Robert Patrick is serviceable as bad guy Koga Shuko/Victor Guisman, there isn't much here worth watching.
23 Most Embarrassing: Alone In The Dark
Uwe Boll's second crack at turning a game into a film is about as rewarding as being kicked in the privates. Alone In The Dark takes what is an eerily atmospheric survival horror masterpiece and turns it into supernatural disaster starring a past his prime Christian Slater as lead character Edward Carnby.
Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff also feature in this underwhelming horror flick that leaves you feeling rather sick to the stomach. This is the type of film I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy.
22 Actually Good: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
The computer-generated film, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, is a great addition to the Final Fantasy universe. Despite being set on earth and having a plot that differs radically from any of the games the film is quite entertaining, thanks in part to the awesome digital graphics.
The film's budget was an astonishing $137 million, which is massive considering it's all computer generated, but you can see where it went with the breathtaking visuals. The voice acting is also another highlight of this film, with the likes of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Donald Sutherland, and Keith David all lending their tones to the film.
21 Most Embarrassing: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
After the massive success of the first film, a sequel was inevitable, but Mortal Kombat: Annihilation turned out so bad it put an end to any more films in the franchise. Taking place directly after the last film, Annihilation is loosely based on the third game in the series and finds our heroes heading to Outworld to protect earth from the evil Shao Kahn.
The film is let down by poor special effects, badly choreographed fight scenes, and a lack of big-name stars, with only two of the lead actors from the original returning. Offing Johnny Cage within the first five minutes is a surprise but is ultimately the only memorable thing about this film.
20 Most Embarrassing: Far Cry
Another Uwe Boll disaster, action flick Far Cry is very loosely based upon the fantastic video game of the same name. German actor Til Schweiger plays Jack Carver in a film involving mutants, gunfights, and the always entertaining Udo Kier.
Like the majority of Boll flicks this one is low budget and contains a script that could have been written by a 10-year-old.
I have a soft spot for Schweiger (he's phenomenal in 90s classic SLC Punk!) but even he seems to be sleepwalking through this one. This is another case of play the game, stay away from the film.
19 Actually Good: Street Fighter
Like Mortal Kombat this film was never going to win any Academy Awards or get high praise from critics, but it is a fun action romp featuring all the main players from the Street Fighter series. The plot focuses on Colonel Guile (a coked out Jean Claude Van Damme) trying to bring down the all-around bad guy General M. Bison (a wonderfully over the top Raul Julia).
The film is filled with great cameos, including Kylie Minogue as Cammy, Ming-Na Wen as Chung-Li, and former WWE wrestler Robert Mammone as Vega. It's one crazy thrill ride that launches from one bad fight scene to another, with Van Damme laughably bad. Street Fighter is one of those movies that's so bad it's good, and deserving of a spot on this list.
18 Most Embarrassing: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life
Despite some better action sequences and a solid supporting cast (besides Gerald Butler who is always terrible) Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life is a massive disappointment. Croft, with help from old flame Terry (Butler) and friend Kosa (Djimon Hounsou) has to find Pandora's Box and gets herself in all sorts of trouble.
It failed both commercially and critically, making $100 million less at the box office than its predecessor. Jolie is great at Croft but a less than adequate script and some bad casting choices make this sequel another embarrassing video game adaptation.
17 Most Embarrassing: Ratchet & Crank
Based on the video game of the same series Ratchet & Crank is a 3D computer-animated adventure not worth your time. Despite roping in Sylvester Stallone, Bella Thorne, Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, and John Goodman to provide their vocal talents, Ratchet & Clank is a frustrating watch with a simple script that fails to match the brilliance of similar animated films released these past few years.
This one is very much aimed at kids, with a lack jokes meaning adults will find it rather boring when compared to Pixar and Disney flicks that entertain both parents and children. Also, Ratchet & Crank aren't the most charismatic duo and should be left in the video game world where they fare much better.
16 Actually Good: Hitman
I'm a Timothy Olyphant mark and won't have a bad word said against him, so it's obvious Hitman is going to receive high praise from me. While not an instant action classic Hitman does offer some spectacular set pieces and enough violence to keep most film fans happy.
Olyphant is quality as always, despite being rather somber, while Dougray Scott and Prison Break's Robert Knepper add some familiar faces.
The film isn't immune to criticism, with the dialogue wishy-washy and the plot at times hard to follow, but on a whole Hitman is a guilty pleasure I still enjoy watching.
15 Most Embarrassing: BloodRayne
BloodRayne is a decent enough game where you take control of the half-vampire half-human Rayne who works for the secret Brimstone societ and is tasked with taking out vampires while trying to find out what happened to her missing father.
To Uwe Boll's credit he does try to incorporate the major plot points from the game but ends up with a film that's more concerned with blood and guts than actual storytelling. The terrific cast is also wasted, with the likes of Ben Kingsley, Billy Zane, Michelle Rodriguez, and Michael Madsen failing to inspire any emotion. Also, that is Meat Loaf as the hedonistic vampire Lord Leonid, once again demonstrating why he should stick to singing.
14 Most Embarrassing: DOA: Dead Or Alive
Fighting games seem to be the easiest video games to adapt but the end product hardly ever matches up to the original game. Case in point DOA: Dead Or Alive. The film finds a number of fighters invited to a martial arts contest where four female contestants join forces to uncover the evil secrets of tournament holder Dr. Victor Donovan.
The film has a flimsy script and is more concerned with dressing up the main actresses Devon Aoki (2 Fast 2 Furious, Sin City), Holly Valance (Aussie drama Neighbours), Sarah Carter (Falling Skies) and Jamie Pressly (My Name Is Earl) in scantily clad costumes. The fight scenes aren't great either, which to be honest, mirrors the games.
13 Actually Good: Resident Evil
Resident Evil is one of the few game-to-film franchises that's lasted more than a couple of films and still pulls in big bucks at the box office. There have been six flicks in total but none come close to the fun and excitement of the original. Starring Mila Jovovich as the amnesiac Alice, the game is set in Umbrella Corporations secret underground lair and takes influence from the first two games in the series.
Jovovich is great as Alice while the likes of Michelle Rodriquez, James Purefoy, and Colin Salmon round out a super support cast. The film has just the right balance of action, horror, and drama, with the A.I. villain Red Queen a worthy adversary.
12 Most Embarrassing: Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li
When word got out 20th Century Fox were pulling the strings behind a new Street Fighter film fans held their collective breath in anticipation. As you can imagine, things didn't exactly turn out the way they wanted with this new film focusing on Street Fighter's Chun-Li and her journey to the tournament.
There's something about a lost father and Bison's criminal empire but none of this really matters or makes sense when watching, that's if you can get through the boring first half an hour without falling asleep. This is one heck of a dull film with mediocre fight scenes and a shallow script.
This film is a failure in every sense of the word.
11 Most Embarrassing: Need For Speed
Exotic automobiles, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, and an awesome soundtrack should add up to a thrilling movie experience but Need For Speed is anything but that. What could have been a great car chase flick is ruined by a faulty script, an overly long runtime, and some below average acting from Paul.
Props to Dominic Cooper who shines as the evil Dino Brewster but there just isn't enough in this film to keep you entertained. That said Need For Speed made over $200 million world wide so maybe I just don't have great taste in films?
10 Actually Good: Max Payne
This film noir action flick captures the dark vibe of Max Payne and certainly does justie to the thrilling franchise. Mark Wahlberg is surprisingly good as the title character, and although not the most expressive actor, manages to convey Payne's grief and anger well. The support cast is fantastic (Mila Kunis, Donal Louge, Beau Bridges, Chris O'Donnell) and the green screen special effects quite neat.
Some fans weren't happy with changes to the storyline but that didn't seem to deter the majority of movie goers, with Max Payne almost making three times its budget.
9 Most Embarrassing: In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Jason Statham. Ron Pearlman. Leelee Sobieski. Ray Liotta. John Rhys-Davies. Burt Reynolds. These are just some of the talented actors and actresses who starred in this film, yet it still turned out to be a waste of space. The reason?
In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege was directed by the great (not) Uwe Boll.
Inspired by the Dungeon Siege video games this action fantasy film will have you clawing your eyes out. I wish I could say something good about it but I can't. Not even the great man Statham can save this one. Avoid at all costs.
8 Most Embarrassing: Assassin's Creed
The casting of Michael Fassbender and his enthusiasim for this film had many people hoping it would do justice to the epic video game franchise, but like most films on this list, Assassin's Creed is another dud.
Relying too much on bad looking CGI effects instead of gathering a coherent script this film is much less exciting than playing the actual game.
Fassbender is pretty bad as the newly introduced character Callum "Cal" Lynch/Aguilar de Nerha and not even the likes of Jeremy Irons, Brendon Gleeson, and Marion Cotillard can save this one from the scrap heap.
7 Actually Good: Silent Hill
Just like the game it's based upon, Silent Hill is a creepy horror tale that will have you checking under the bed for monsters before going to sleep. While even I admit the script is a little hard to follow at times the film has the same atmosphere as the game, with Aussie actress Radha Mitchell perfectly cast as desperate mother Rose De Silva.
It's great to see Pyramid Head in the flick, with Silent Hill a visually pleasing horror flick that stays fairly true to the mythology of the game. Big shout out to Sean Bean who manages to survive to the films end, something he doesn't often do.
6 Most Embarrassing: Postal
The last film on this list from film maker extraordinaire Uwe Boll, Postal is another disappointing effort from the German director turned restaurateur. The film is based upon shooter Postal but borrows heavily from the games sequel and features a pretty strange cast that includes Verne Troyer, J. K. Simmons, and Dave Foley.
It's been universally panned by both critics and fans of the game, with Boll picking up the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director in 2008. Interesting fact, he won the award not only for Postal but for two of his other 2008 releases, the already mentioned Dungeon Siege: In The Name Of The King and Vietnam flick Tunnel Rats.
5 Most Embarrassing: Hitman: Agent 47
Replacing Timothy Olyphant was the first sign this film was going to be weak, with English actor Rupert Friend totally miscast as the bald headed assassin. Hitman: Agent 47 is a hollow thriller with little substance.
The action scenes are watchable but nothing flash and the acting, script, and production values poor.
One wonders what would have happened if original lead Paul Walker hadn't tragically passed away in a car accident before filming begun. He's star presence could have been enough to lift this film from the depths of despair where it now sits.
4 Actually Good: Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
The original inspiration for games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider, action adventure game Prince Of Persia is a terrific game that's spawned multiple sequels and spinoffs. The long awaited film adaptation stays close to the game and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Atherton with a plot about a dagger that allows the wielder to travel back in time.
Visually stunning the film does a great job of recreating the ancient Persian Empire, with Ben Kingsley hamming it up hilariously as the evil Nizam. Although claims of white washing left a stain on the film it still went on to make $336 and prove video game adaptations can be commercial successes.
3 Most Embarrassing: Doom
The Rock in a film about space marines tackling demons from hell sounds like a sure fire winner but Doom turned out to be far worse than anyone could have imagined. The lack of a strong plot and some pretty terrible action scenes let this one down massively.
There's also Dwayne Johnson not cast as the lead, with Kiwi Karl Urban (who I actually like) failing to match the charisma of the Great One.
The short sequence near the films end that's shot in first person view works well and feels like you're part of the film, but five minutes of joy in an hour and a half film isn't enough to make you want to revisit this one.
2 Most Embarrassing: Tekken
Like most fighting games adapted into films Tekken involves a a fighting tournament organised by a creepy character with ulterior motives and a hero fighting for revenge. Maybe that's where producers keep going wrong and need to change it up with a Street Fighter type scenario where it's not just about one-on-one fights and advancing through a competition to fight the final big bad. Maybe that could have saved this film.
Tekken is another bland film with vanilla characters, boring fight scenes, and wooden acting. Despite being almost unwatchable a sequel got the go ahead, with Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge just as headache inducing as this mess.
1 Actually Good: Rampage
I loved playing Rampage as a kid and got a pleasant surprise when I saw this adaptation on the big screen. The plot revolves around three zoo animals who are infected with a pathogen from space that turns them into giant creatures with an aggressive streak.
What makes this film great is when primatologist The Rock joins forces with his albino gorilla mate George to take down a gray wolf and crocodile in the middle of Chicago. It's an action packed 20 minutes that never lets up and feels like you're watching someone playing the original game.
Despite some critics tearing it apart, Rampage is the all time best reviewed video game film on Rotten Tomatoes, sitting at an average of 53%.