Last year saw Hollywood once again attempt to bring the video game series Tomb Raider to the big screen with the aptly titled Tomb Raider reboot. After two previous films starring Angelina Jolie as treasure hunter Lara Croft failed to capture fans imaginations, this latest reboot stars relative newcomer Alicia Vikander in an uninspiring take of the classic video game character. Despite many having high hopes for this film, it's a poorly scripted mess with a few decent action set pieces with little more to offer fans of the game.
This process of video games being turned into bad films is something gamers have been dealing with for the past three decades. For some reason Hollywood never manages to nail the style or tone of blockbuster games, churning out pale imitations beset by bad scripts, poor special effects, horrible acting, and dodgy production values. Adaptations such as Super Mario Bros., Alone In The Dark, and the infamous House Of The Dead are absolute disasters that lack the fun and excitement of the video games they are based upon. Considering the amount of money spent on these films it's incredible to think so many can be that bad.
Of course, every few years a shining light slips through the cracks and presents itself as a worthy video game to film replication. While they are few and far between, films such as Mortal Kombat and last years Dwayne Johnson starring Rampage, bucked the trend and presented an enjoyable game turned film adaptation that hit ticked most the boxes.
To give you a solid overview of which films work and which don't, here's a look at the 15 worst and five best video game movies of all time.
20 Notoriously Bad: Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. just doesn't lend itself to a film adaption. A game about Italian plumbers trying to rescue the stolen Princess Peach from a monstrous creature named Bowser is a ludicrous idea, but that didn't stop Hollywood.
This 1993 atrocity stars Bob Hoskins (Mario) and John Leguizamo (Luigi) as the brothers who must stop Dennis Hopper's evil President Koopa. This film has a confusing storyline and some laughable acting and is incredibly hard to follow.
It's a hodgepodge of bad ideas that will leave you scratching your head after watching.
19 Notoriously Bad: Assassin's Creed
When it was announced Micheal Fassbender had signed on to play the lead role in the Assassin's Creed movie I was jumping for joy. This feeling of euphoria soon disappeared after sitting through this two-hour pile of trash.
Not only is the plot all over the place but the CGI used looks dated and fails to capture the spirit of the game. Even Fassbender can't save this one, with the acclaimed actor often looking like he'd rather be somewhere else, which is exactly how I felt watching this flick.
18 Notoriously Bad: Hitman: Agent 47
I don't care what people say, the original Hitman is a decent action flick, mainly thanks to the acting talents of Timothy Olyphant. This not-needed sequel sees Olyphant replaced by Rupert Friend – who at this stage of his career was best known for his role as Lt. Kurt Kotler in The Boy In The Stripped Pajamas – in a dumb action film nowhere close to the fun of the first film.
Friend is totally miscast as Agent 47 in a film that tries to replicate the action of classic 80s films but fails miserably. There's nothing to write home about with this flick, with Hitman: Agent 47 so bad Friend didn't star in another movie for two years after its release.
17 Surprisingly Good: Mortal Kombat
I think I speak for most video game fans in saying not much was expected from the Mortal Kombat film. After the disaster that was Super Mario Bros., everybody was ready to write this flick off, but it actually turned out to be pretty good.
Following a similar storyline to the game, all the main characters are involved in a film with some top-notch fighting scenes and an incredible soundtrack (the theme song is mint). Although a little cheesy at times, this is the definition of a B grade movie done right.
16 Notoriously Bad: Far Cry
The first of many Uwe Boll directed films to feature on this list, Far Cry is a bad film based on the decent game of the same name. Til Schweiger takes on the role of Jack Carver and does an admirable job, even though he's not the greatest actor in the world.
This film, like most Boll productions, is let down by an awful script, sloppy production values, and bad directing. The action scenes are lame and the storyline almost non-existent.
Words really can't explain how bad this film is.
15 Notoriously Bad: Need For Speed
Another video game that's doesn't really make sense as a film, I consider Need For Speed the film that ended Aaron Paul's career. Before this, he was at the top of his game having just finished the final season of Breaking Bad. No doubt he had his choice of scripts at this time, and for some strange reason, decided to make this stinker.
There's something about avenging his friends' demise via a cross country race and a lackluster supporting cast including Dominic Cooper, Micheal Keaton, and Freddie Mercury himself, Rami Malek. This is a Fast And The Furious rip-off without any of the fun.
14 Notoriously Bad: Double Dragon
The lowlight of Scott Wolf's film career, Double Dragon is silly 90s action movie with an 80s influence. Similar to the game, brothers Jimmy and Billie Lee team up to take down the evil Koga Shuko (an over-the-top bleach-blonde Robert Patrick) and reclaim half of a powerful amulet.
This is a stupid Western kung-fu action film with bad acting and an even worse script, filled with cheesy dialogue and head-scratching plot points. Even the addition of Alyssa Milano (who was just starting to breakout) can't save this unfortunate video game to film adaptation.
13 Surprisingly Good: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Not only is Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within the first photorealistic computer animated film ever created, but it's also a bloody enjoyable romp staying true to the ethos of the awesome RPG franchise.
Although the film is considered a bomb (it only made $85 million up against a production cost of $137 million), it's a well scripted and directed science fiction film with a genuine emotional core. The cast is also impressive, with Donald Sutherland, Min-Na Wen, Steve Buscemi, Keith David, and Peri Gilpin all featuring.
12 Notoriously Bad: Wing Commander
Very loosely based on the video game of the same name, Wing Commander is a low budget sci-fi flick trying to pass itself off as a Hollywood blockbuster. The special effects are extremely poor and the acting less than desirable, with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard poorly cast.
Many fans were also disappointed with the depiction of the feline alien race known as Kilrathi, with the film version of the creatures looking more like lame puppets.
11 Notoriously Bad: Warcraft
After wowing fans with his directorial debut Moon and followup Source Code, big things were expected for Duncan Jones' take on epic video game franchise Warcraft. The end result is a long-winding snooze-fest between humans and orcs with some terrible CGI.
Aussie Travis Fimmel just isn't up to scratch as human protagonist Anduin Lothar, while Ben Foster is wasted as the magic welding Medivh. For fans of the game, this is a really disappointing effort and one many had high expectations for.
10 Notoriously Bad: BloodRayne
Another Uwe Boll special, BloodRayne was another poor performing film from the German auteur. Kristanna Loken stars as Rayne, an 18th-century vampire on a quest for revenge. With a budget of $25 million, BloodRayne made a reported $3.5 million at the box office, making it the definition of a flop.
If you've ever seen this film you'll understand why it performed so badly.
Despite an ensemble cast including the great Ben Kingsley, Michelle Rodriguez, Micheal Madsen, and Billy Zane, BloodRayne is a distilled mess lacking a cohesive plot and a qualified director. What's even more surprising is two sequels followed, both as bad as this mess.
9 Surprisingly Good: Resident Evil
Resident Evil could have been a run of the mill zombie flick with a tenuous link to the game, but in the hands of Paul W. S Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon) fans got the film they deserved.
The script is tight, with enough action scenes and callbacks to the game to keep all fans interested, while Milla Jovovich is a revelation as amnesiac Alice who must try and stop the evil Umbrella Company. The film spawned five sequels, but it's fair to say none measure up to the excitement of the original Resident Evil.
8 Notoriously Bad: DOA: Dead Or Alive
This video game series is known for its specific character designs, and that's exactly what you get in the film version. DOA: Dead Or Alive revolves around three main characters from the series, Kasumi (Devon Aoki), Christie Allen (Holly Valance), and Tina Armstrong (Jamie Pressly) who enter a martial arts tournament to try and take down the organizer of the event.
This is an incredibly bad film that relies on attractive women to keep your attention. The acting is worse than a student film and the plot makes little sense, with DOA: Dead Or Alive currently sitting at 33% on Rotten Tomatoes.
7 Notoriously Bad: Alone In The Dark
Christian Slater is much better than this. Despite dealing with a downturn in his career during the 00s, the brilliant actor should never have had to sink as low as Alone In The Dark.
Uwe Boll takes on directing duties in this 2005 horror action disaster that also stars Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff.
The original script apparently stuck closer to the games, but Boll decided to rewrite much of it to include more action scenes and horrible dialogue. Not only is this one of the worst video game films of all time, but one of the worst films ever released.
6 Notoriously Bad: Tekken
There's a common theme with fighting games about a character looking for revenge, and that plotline is the main driving force in Tekken the film. Jin Kazama enters the Iron Fist Tournament to avenge the loss of his mother in a movie that reflects poorly on the popular video game series.
While it's true some of the fight scenes are well choreographed, the film struggles from poor performances, frenetic editing, and a snooze-worthy script.
5 Surprisingly Good: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft. Physical similarities aside, the wonderful actress does a tremendous job as the world adventurer in this above-average action flick. Not only is Jolie great, but the presence of Daniel Craig, Jon Voight, and Game Of Thrones Iain Glen adds to this thrilling ride.
The action set pieces are fantastic, with Jolie doing the majority of her own stunts, and the silly yet pulsating script drives the film towards its exciting conclusion.
4 Notoriously Bad: Doom
When it was announced Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was set to star in a film version of Doom, I was one of many people to get excited. As is often the case, expectations didn't live up to reality, with Doom an uninspiring sci-fi actioner with Johnson hamming it up a little too much.
The promise of first-person scenes similar to those seen in the game only feature in the final minutes of the film, crushing many video game fans who thought it would be a staple of the film. Doom is how not to do a video game adaptation.
3 Notoriously Bad: Street Fighter
This film has one of the strangest cast you'll see in a video game adaptation. Action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme (Guile), thespian Raul Julia (M. Bison), singer Kylie Minogue (Cammy), and wonderful actress Ming-Na Wen (Chung-Li) all feature in this laugh-out-loud B grade action flick.
The plot loosely follows the Street Fighter II: The World Warrior game and features many of the series main characters in a motion picture bogged down by a tired script, bad acting, questionable dialogue and the main star (Van Damme) dealing with addiction.
2 Notoriously Bad: House Of The Dead
Uwe Boll's first video game adaptation, House Of The Dead, is an absolute shocker that somehow managed to get a sequel. Featuring a no-name cast in a horribly written splatterfest that's part dance party, part unintentional horror comedy.
The film's been universally slammed by critics and sits at 15% on Metacritic, with reviewer David Grove stating; "Here's a would-be horror film that contains not one ounce of professional pride in its making, not one shred of technical competence. This is one of the worst films of recent times." Enough said.
1 Surprisingly Good: Rampage
The Rock's film output is varied at best, but when he gets it right it usually results in a fun experience where you can leave your brain at the door for a few hours and have some mindless enjoyment. This is certainly the case with last years Rampage.
Just like the game, a mutated gorilla, gray wolf, and crocodile do battle in Chicago and destroy much of the city. This is big, goofy fun with the Rock in great form and the supporting cast of Naomie Harris, Joe Manganiello, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan only adding to the enjoyment of this flick.
Looking at Rock's filmography, this is certainly one of his better movies.