Best & Worst: Videogame Movies

Winners and losers when 8-bit goes big screen...

 

Videogame adaptations are like a walk through minefield; sure there might be a couple of safe zones, but more often than not you're going to stand on a bomb.

Based on that analogy, this attempt to fashion a Best & Worst feature from the pantheon of videogame adaptations seems ill-advised and downright foolhardy, but nobody ever said we were wise.

Join us as we try to persuade you that good videogame adaptations do exist, even if they can only be deemed good as the lesser of two evils. For your consideration...

 

Best & Worst: Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Best

Super Mario Bros.: Great Mission To Rescue Princess Peach (1986)

Why It Rocks: The first Mario movie is a Japanese anime featuring Californian Grocery Store owner Mario, and his greedy brother Luigi, who enter a videogame world in order to save Princess Peach.

Released in Japan only on VHS, this is now one of the rarest movies in the world, with copies of the original cassette going for up to $180. Bootleg cassettes are available, and it has been uploaded to youtube with fanmade subtitles.

 

The Worst

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

Why It Sucks: The first big-budget video game adaptation was also the first big-budget videogame adap-turkey. Yes, we just invented a word.

Starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the Mario Bros., the film took the plot of the video games, shat on it, set it on fire, then danced on its ashes. Critics, fans and the actors themselves all hated it, though it has a cult following.

 

Next: Mortal Kombat Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Mortal Kombat Movies

The Best

Mortal Kombat (1995)

Why It Rocks: After the abysmal reception and box-office of Mario, Street Fighter and Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat proved that a successful, both critically and commercially, videogame adaptation was possible.

Directed by Paul WS Anderson, critics praised the film for its mix of martial arts action and adventure with fantasy elements, and managed to pull in a whopping $23 Million on its opening weekend.

 

The Worst

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

Why It Sucks: Disposing of characters with greater abandon than an X-Men sequel, this hack job of a sequel retained few of the original actors and little of the accidental charm and wit of its predecessor.

Grossing only $35 million, exactly half of the first film’s haul, and only $5 Million above its own budget, plans for more sequels were put on ice and have been dwindling in development hell ever since.

 

Next: Zombie Videogame Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Zombie Videogame Movies

The Best

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)    

Why It Rocks: The best of the Resident Evil films, even with its cliché mapping plot, Extinction moves at a brisk pace and has the decency not to bog itself down in ridiculous talky bits.

Any scene involving a flock of zombie crows is a highlight. Even if we’ve walked this path before it was comfortable territory.

 

The Worst

House of the Dead (2003)

Why It Sucks: Apart from Erica Durance bearing all, this has nothing to recommend it. Clint Howard can’t even save this twitching corpse.

One of Uwe Boll’s earliest examples of why he should be re-patriated back to the hell from whence he came, the acting, dialogue, camerawork, plot, make-up, effect, set design and direction are just abysmal.

 

Next: Tomb Raider Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Tomb Raider Movie

The Best

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Why It Rocks: A far more controlled, assured and confident outing for Lara Croft, this nevertheless failed to make a show at the box office and inspired Jolie to hang up her pony tail and khaki shorts.

A pre-300 Gerry Butler adds some macho grunt to proceedings, and with legendary Speed 2 director Jan De Bont at the helm, Cradle of Life is a fun, slightly camp, action adventure.

 

The Worst

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Why It Sucks: A series of wire-centric action sequences strung together with little more than Jolie’s ample stature, Simon West hacks this up like a dead hooker, desperate and afraid of the consequences.

Wobbly accents, completely implausible stunt-work, un-engaging characters and a Jon Voight performance only a touch north of Baby Geniuses 2, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a mockery of a sham of a mockery.

 

Next: Beat 'Em Up Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Beat ‘Em Up Movie

The Best

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Why It Rocks: Jamie Pressly, Holly Valance, Devon Aoki and Sarah Carter spend most of the film running around in bikinis, which scores it instant awesome points with us. Also Eric Roberts is the man, TF certified.

Fun, campy and tongue-firmly-in-cheek, DOA features great fight choreography and inventive direction by Corey Yuen um… Jamie Pressley, Holly Valance, Devon Aoki and Sarah Carter in bikinis, Eric Roberts.

 

The Worst

Street Fighter (1994)

Why It Sucks: Written and Directed by a bunch of people who have never played Street Fighter, this overly camp, shoddy production is the epitome of Hollywood’s approach to the videogame movie.

Changing the focus from Ryu to Jean Claude Van Damme’s Colonel Guile, and with a clearly unwell Raul Julia as M. Bison, this takes all the best bits of the game and turns them into one questionable 90 minute joke about sexuality.

Next: Uwe Boll Videogame Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Uwe Boll Videogame Movie

The Best

Postal (2008)

Why It Rocks: Okay, don’t get us wrong, we aren’t defending the man. Postal just happens to be his best film (according to Metacritic.com).

This madcap mess of a movie involves a doomsday cult full of scantily clad beauties, Osama Bin Laden, George W. Bush, a Nazi theme-park and the on-screen deaths of dozens of innocent children.  

 

The Worst

Alone In The Dark (2005)

Why It Sucks: Where do we start? Christian Slater’s paycheck performance as a paranormal detective. Perhaps Tara Reid’s reality-defying turn as an archaeologist, curator and alien expert. Perhaps the awful, awful script.

Whoever is to blame (let’s face it, Boll call the shots, he can receive them too), this turd-infested shitpile has the distinction of being the worst film Uwe Boll has ever made, which is quite the achievement, considering.

Next: Animated Videogame Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Animated Videogame Movie

The Best

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

Why It Rocks: The first near-photo realistic CG rendered film, and though it was a box office bomb of nuclear proportions, Final Fantasy was praised for it’s visionary production techniques.

In the years since its release, Spirits has gathered significant praise for being well ahead of its time, and though the plot is rather straight forward, it beats the crap out of most video game adaptations, animated or otherwise.

 

The Worst

Pokemon 3 (2000)

Why It Sucks: Poorly animated rush job to cash-in on the worldwide Pokemon phenomenon, this was released in relatively quick succession to its predecessors with little attention to quality.

With glaring continuity errors with the accompanying cartoon series, the film earned only a third of the gross of the previous films. Pokemon 3 a prime example of franchise lag, an unnecessary cash-cow milked for every last drop.

Next: First Person Shooter Movies[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: First Person Shooter Movie

The Best

Doom (2005)

Why It Rocks: The only reason this is the best first person shooter movie is that it’s better than Far Cry. This is hardly a glowing endorsement.

When the best part of your film is a 90 second sequence which emulates the first person style of the game, and the rest barely resembles said game, you're in trouble. On a plus, it had Dexter Fletcher, who was at least on Gamesmaster.

 

The Worst

Far Cry (2008)

Why It Sucks: Somehow, Boll secured $30 Million financing for this bag of equine excrement. This has a solid cast of German stars including Inglourious Basterds’ Til Schwieger, who will probably never live it down.

We aren’t going to pretend we’ve seen it, we also aren’t going to waste any more time talking about this monumental schwanz festival.

 

Next: Videogame Movies Featuring Olga Kurylenko[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Videogame Movie Featuring Olga Kurylenko

The Best

Hitman (2007)

Why It Rocks: As videogame movies featuring Olga Kurylenko go, this one has her in the whole way through.

Therefore, it shall be herefore known as the best videogame to feature Olga Kurylenko.

 

The Worst

Max Payne (2008)

Why It Sucks: Mark Wahlberg’s best film of 2008 is completely terrible for many more reasons other than Olga Kurylenko is limited to a mere cameo.

Predictable, slow, boring, confusing and several other words sum up just how painful the experience is, making it officially the worst videogame movie to feature Olga Kurylenko.

 

Next: Videogame Movies We Couldn't Shoehorn Into A Category[page-break]

 

Best & Worst: Videogame Movies We Couldn’t Shoehorn Into A Category

The Best

Silent Hill (2006)

Why It Rocks: Even if you’ve never heard of the Silent Hill video games, this still works as a horror film proper. For fans of the series this is a spot-on adaptation.

With all the tense atmosphere and gruesome nastiness of the game, Silent Hill is an unsettling watch, one that knows where to nod to its videogame origins and then leave them behind in service of a surprisingly brutal cinematic adaptation.

 

The Worst

Wing Commander (1999)

Why It Sucks: Every time we try to recall exactly what happens in this crap bonanza, we black out and wake up with blood running from our noses.

In order to relay exactly what makes it so utterly terrible is, we’ll try to summarise the plot for you; Freddie Prinze Jr and Matthew Lillard are fighter pilots in space and… guh, what happened? Is it normal to bleed purple?

 

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Comments

    • paddyg11

      Sep 2nd 2009, 11:04

      When Silent Hill is, questionably, the best movie in a list I don't think the word 'best' should be in use anywhere

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    • durden

      Sep 2nd 2009, 16:54

      okay...this is THE WORST list Total Film has ever made!!you guys really blew it this time!!i'm sure everyone disagrees with many of your "best and worst" decisions...what the hell?!were you guys high when you made this or something?!?!

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    • darjeelingmike

      Sep 2nd 2009, 16:56

      To be fair, this list has made me realise that not all hope is lost for videogame movies. Yes, more than half of them are terrible beyond words, most of them helmed by Uwe Boll. But that's half the problem! A good deal of them don't have half decent writers, directors etc. and the actors they do get turn in mediocre performances. Having said that TF, you have highlighted some of the better points in adaptations as Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy (that animation really was good) and Silent Hill are all pretty good movies. Hitman as a film was awful but some of the action sequences were really decent and as s**t as it is I think Street Fighter is one of the all time great movie guilty pleasues! I heard that Michael Mann was once circling very average game Kane & Lynch with Bruce Willis. If this were true, you have your first truly great adaptation straight away. It's hard to do games justice but it really can be done with the right cast and crew, we only need one film to prove the world wrong. Shame we leave these adaptations in the hands of cineliterate hacks.

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    • darjeelingmike

      Sep 2nd 2009, 16:59

      To be fair, this list has made me realise that not all hope is lost for videogame movies. Yes, more than half of them are terrible beyond words, most of them helmed by Uwe Boll. But that's half the problem! A good deal of them don't have half decent writers, directors etc. and the actors they do get turn in mediocre performances. Having said that TF, you have highlighted some of the better points in adaptations as Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy (that animation really was good) and Silent Hill are all pretty good movies. Hitman as a film was awful but some of the action sequences were really decent and as s**t as it is I think Street Fighter is one of the all time great movie guilty pleasues! I heard that Michael Mann was once circling very average game Kane & Lynch with Bruce Willis. If this were true, you have your first truly great adaptation straight away. It's hard to do games justice but it really can be done with the right cast and crew, we only need one film to prove the world wrong. Shame we leave these adaptations in the hands of cineliterate hacks.

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    • SCQ47

      Sep 2nd 2009, 17:55

      @durden, Do you have an actual argument behind your accusation or are you simply ranting like a typical hormonal imbalanced teenager? My only criticism for this list is you should have shoehorned Uwe Boll into every category. "The Worst Super Mario movie: Uwe Boll. The Worst Tomb Raider movie: Uwe Boll." But I hold that criticism because Wing Commander might very well be the worst movie on this entire list.

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    • Ali1748

      Sep 2nd 2009, 19:23

      Man I forgot about Mortal Kombat me and my mates would watch that alot back in school. Street Fighter is so bad it's funny I can enjoy the cheesy dialogue and terrible acting in it. Lets hope Len Wiseman's Gears Of War will break the mold.

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    • Bojangles17

      Sep 2nd 2009, 23:37

      @SCQ47 I don't know if any of these were Durdens points, but I agree with him for these reasons: Silent Hill is much better than Wing Commmander but by *no* means is it "a spot-on adaptation" for fans. Dimming the lights and throwing Pyramid Head into the the mix is not an accurate recreation of the atmosphere...You couldn't make a spot on adaptation of Silent Hill because of the *lack* of action in that game. I like Hill but not anywhere near as much of the games. I personally prefer Max Payne to Hitman. Sheerly because Max Payne looks better the whole way through. And I can live without Olga Kurylenko if needs be. Comparing an ostensibly adult targetted CGI film to a childrens targetted standard animation film is completely unfair and pulling in Resident Evil degeneration or Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children would have made more sense (and I propose that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a fans idea of a spot on adaptation. Or sequel, anyway. Anybody who thinks DOA is better than Street Fighter is technically correct, but has no heart. Resident Evil was tonnes better than the two s**tstorms that followed, so how Resident Evil: Extinction is the best zombie game based film ever is waaaay beyond me. Although there are a few decent Video Game adaps, The Best and Worst Videogame Movies is a horrible idea for a list because the ratio of good to bad is far from equal.

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    • Jason Voorhees

      Sep 3rd 2009, 0:16

      I always thought that Max Payne would be the most sensible choice for a film from a video game. I was quite wrong although it is probably the better out of all the dodgy ones i have heard. I am just waiting for a Grand Theft Auto based game ala gone in 60 seconds nick as many motors as you can. Res Evil ExStinksion is a catastrophe, i preferred apocolypse to that.

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    • SCY385

      Sep 3rd 2009, 17:30

      Silent Hill, the movie, got me into playing the games. I love both of them.

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    • locobison2008

      Sep 7th 2009, 16:12

      Just question whilst i can agree that final fantasy: the sporits within is un underatted film, surley Final Fantasy IIV:Advent Children is a much greater film not only for animation but sheer story and depth!!!

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    • YungPinoy

      Sep 30th 2009, 12:29

      Super Mario Bros is by far the worst video game movie. It goes: 5. Wing Commander 4. Bloodrayne 3. Alone in the Dark 2. House of the Dead 1. Super Mario Bros Check out my blog I made about the worst video game movies ever. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2232157/sometimes_video_games_and_hollywood_pg2.html?cat=40

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    • acrestare

      Jul 22nd 2011, 20:05

      That's kind of strange because tomb raider: the cradle of life is considered better than the first tomb raider, but in another article on this website it talked about how the cradle of life was a terrible sequel. Hmm....

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    • CTurner1

      May 18th 2012, 11:02

      No mention of Street Fighter: The Animated Movie?

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